RSA-227 for FY-2016: Submission #894

Minnesota
9/30/2016
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance
430 1st Avenue N.
Suite 300
Minneapolis
MN
55401
http://www.mndlc.org
(800) 292-4150
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance
430 1st Avenue N.
Suite 300
Minneapolis
55401
Minnesota
mndlc@mylegalaid.org
http://www.mndlc.org
(800) 292-4150
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Additional Information
Daniel Stewart
Alex Farrell
(612) 746-3764
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
15
0
0
0
0
0
15
B. Training Activities
15
664
<p>The Minnesota Disability Law Center&rsquo;s (MDLC) Client Assistance Project (CAP) staff delivered trainings throughout the state providing hundreds of participants from all over the disability community with information about CAP and vocational rehabilitation (VR) issues. Several of these presentations were to populations that have been unserved or underserved by Minnesota vocational rehabilitation agencies; such outreach activities are summarized below in Part I, C.</p><p><p>Staff delivered a training to an adoptive parent support group in Nicollet County about MDLC and CAP services and issues faced by children with mental health and developmental disabilities. Staff also made a presentation on MDLC and CAP services to the Minnesota Deaf &amp; Hard of Hearing Advisory Committee. The MA spend down and MA for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) program was the topic of a training to the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance.</p><p><p>Staff delivered a presentation to the Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council on CAP advocacy, service statistics and trends in vocational rehabilitation service delivery. Staff also presented at the Minnesota State Independent Living Council Conference on laws and court decisions impacting independent living, including employment and vocational rehabilitation services.</p><p><p>Staff delivered a continuing legal education training to Minnesota attorneys on Olmstead updates, including initiatives regarding integration of persons with disabilities into community employment. Staff also delivered two community legal education trainings to Minnesota attorneys on, among other things, legal issues faced by transition-aged students titled &ldquo;Advising the Disadvantaged.&rdquo;</p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
<p>During this report period, CAP staff engaged in 11 outreach events throughout the state, which provided information about CAP services, VR rights and other disability rights. This outreach included a 2-day event sponsored by St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services in northeast Minnesota, a health fair in Northern Minnesota, the Project Homeless Connect resource fair in central Minnesota&rsquo;s St. Cloud, the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans&rsquo; Stand Down event, an ADA at 25 event in St. Paul, a Dakota County disability services event and a Ramsey County Children&rsquo;s Mental Health event in St. Paul. Staff also provided information about MDLC and CAP services at a booth at the Minnesota State Fair. CAP staff made a media appearance on Northwest Community Television (NWCT), a local television station in the Minneapolis suburbs, when MCLD&rsquo;s Legal Director was interviewed about MDLC and CAP services to persons with disabilities.</p><p><p>In addition, CAP staff conducted outreach that was specifically targeted towards reaching historically unserved/underserved populations and minority communities.</p><p><p>Hispanic/Latino Community: CAP staff delivered a presentation to Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, a nonprofit organization for Latinos in the Twin Cities, regarding access to vocational rehabilitation services, MDLC and CAP services, and issues facing Social Security beneficiaries seeking employment.</p><p><p>Native American Community: CAP staff presented a training about CAP and services for transition-aged youth at the White Earth Reservation in Northeastern Minnesota, hosted by the White Earth Sec. 121 vocational rehabilitation program. In attendance were Native American VR counselors from the reservation VR program, local social services staff and school district staff. Other presenters included Social Security staff, PACER representatives, and state vocational rehabilitation agency staff.</p><p><p>Transition-Aged Students: CAP staff delivered several presentations on transition issues, including a presentation on MDLC and CAP services with focus on special education and transition issues to staff at the Southeast Minnesota Center for Independent Living (SEMCIL), the ARC, and the Minnesota Ombudsman&rsquo;s office. Staff delivered a webinar training presentation entitled &ldquo;Hello From the Other Side - Employment Related Options for Young Adults (&ldquo;Transition Age Youth&rdquo;) with FASD&rdquo; sponsored by the Minnesota Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS); this webinar is available on the MOFAS website.</p><p><p>CAP staff delivered a presentation on &ldquo;3 Main Challenges - Employment and Special Education&rdquo; to the Booth Law Group. Special education and transition services were the topic of a training to the Minnesota Association for Children&rsquo;s Mental Health (MACMH). Staff delivered a training to parents and families from the School District 622 Transition group on tran
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
1
0
0
11
11
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<p>NA</p><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>NA</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
26
26
52
15
23
B. Problem areas
5
8
22
1
2
5
0
4
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
12
0
16
0
0
0
28
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
9
12
3
1
0
1
0
2
0
0
0
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<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
5
0
0
0
3
14
2
1
0
{Empty}
<p>3 - Decision reversed</p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
5
0
8
37
2
52
B. Gender
27
25
52
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
0
0
0
6
0
41
1
4
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
2
0
0
1
0
0
2
0
5
1
1
0
1
2
0
0
0
1
0
3
17
0
0
0
2
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
8
52
E. Types of Individuals Served
11
0
37
0
0
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
<p>CAP staff advocated to VRS policy development officials that resources be prioritized and preserved to ensure VR staff work effectively with SSA officials in transmitting information on timely progress made by consumers who are also Social Security beneficiaries towards their employment goals. Receipt of this information preserves protection of these consumers from Social Security continuing disability reviews, a key component to effectiveness of Social Security work incentive programs and the Ticket to Work, as well as a lessening of barriers to employment. This priority emphasis was consequently incorporated into VRS policies.</p><p><p>As the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) continues to be implemented across the state, both state VR agencies in Minnesota have both put additional restrictions in their respective Orders of Selection, and more categories of service are being closed. Additionally, VR and SSB must now channel more efforts and funding to their school-to-work transition services areas. CAP staff met with VR and SSB agency leadership to discuss the WOIA changes, especially with regard to subminimum wage issues. The focus of CAP&rsquo;s advocacy was to ensure individuals with disabilities get the information and counseling they need and are entitled to, under the law, to make informed choices about whether to pursue integrated, competitive employment in the community, and the appropriate role for guardians to play in this process. This advice has been incorporated into VRS&rsquo; policies and procedures, and CAP is continuing to monitor the processes as they are rolled out and to follow up as necessary. In addition, CAP and MDLC staff are planning a training session on WIOA requirements for VR/SSB and school districts for FFY 2017.</p><p>
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<p>During the fiscal year CAP staff undertook no systemic litigation activities involving individual representation, relying instead on more informal review and mediation procedures which successfully resolved cases before having to resort to formal administrative or legal remedies.</p><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance
No
NA
B. Staff Employed
<p>Attorney FT .87 FTE 100% of year filled .87 Person years</p><p><p>Legal Advocate FT .8 FTE 100% of year filled .8 Person years</p><p><p>Clerical FT .06 FTE 100% of year filled .06 Person years</p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
<p>An African-American woman who was a recent leg amputee sought CAP advocacy after moving from Wisconsin to Minnesota. The woman had worked for many years running her own home health care business but was no longer able to do that because of her disabilities. She wanted to pursue an alternate career as a freight broker but had little success with Minnesota VRS in developing a written Employment Plan for the training and other VR services she would need. Her VR counselor, who was white, did not believe she could be successful in that sort of endeavor. CAP staff investigated the case and recommend mediation to work through the issues. At mediation, where the woman was represented by CAP staff, VRS agreed to reassign the woman&rsquo;s case to a different VR counselor, someone she had worked with successfully before. VRS and the woman were also able to agree on an Employment Plan to assess her abilities in pursuing the freight broker job goal and, if appropriate, to pursue the training she needed in an accredited educational program. After the mediation, CAP staff followed up with the woman and VRS to ensure the assessment process was moving along and that the woman was comfortable with the assessment activities recommended by VRS.</p><p><p>A blind woman sought CAP advocacy after spending two years trying to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) without much success. She had undergone neurological assessment but about a year had gone by when her VR counselor was switched and nothing seemed to be moving forward. Her goal was to return to college to finish her bachelor&rsquo;s degree so that she could get a social work job but she needed computer and braille training to be successful there, services SSB was reluctant to provide. After investigating her case, CAP staff represented the woman in a meeting with her VR counselor, the SSB supervisor and the SSB workforce development director. As a result, SSB agreed to support the woman&rsquo;s job goal of working part-time in social services and returning to college. SSB also agreed to refer client for assistive technology assessments and to refer her to a different vendor for computer and braille training. Since then, the parties have moved forward to reassign the case to a different VR counselor, develop the written IPE, start the computer training and prepare for the return to college and a part-time job.</p><p><p>A man receiving VRS services was trying to start a small business but due to his wife&rsquo;s income as a teacher could not get funding for any services under VRS&rsquo; consumer financial participation rules. The business involved developing tools to integrate computer hardware and software solutions from various vendors into an easy-to-use framework or platform for telehealth and e-health. CAP staff investigated his case and advocated on his behalf with VRS agency officials involved. CAP then set up a meeting with the VR counselor, the VRS office manager and VRS&rsq
Certification
Approved
Cathy Haukedahl
Executive Director
2016-12-16
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