RSA-227 for FY-2016: Submission #911

Vermont
9/30/2016
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Vermont Client Assistance Program
57 North Main Street
Suite 2
Rutland
VT
05401
http://vtlegalaid.org
(800) 769-7459
(800) 769-7459
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Vermont Client Assistance Program
57 North Main Street
Suite 2
Rutland
05401
Vermont
nbreiden@vtlegalaid.org
http://vtlegalaid.org
(800) 769-7459
(800) 769-7459
Additional Information
Nancy Breiden
Nancy Breiden
(802) 775-0021
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
49
37
0
121
0
280
487
B. Training Activities
4
40
<p><b><u>The ADA for Service Providers.</u> Training for non-profit service providers on the requirements of the ADA, both for them as places of public accommodation and for the people they serve. Training was through formal presentation, written materials and question/answer. Purpose of the training was to inform staff of non-profit service provider agencies of their obligations to provide accommodations under the ADA and of the rights of the people they serve to be free from disability-based discrimination. 10 service provider agency staff were trained. </b></p><p><p><b><u>The ADA for Service Providers.</u> Training for non-profit service providers on the requirements of the ADA, both for them as places of public accommodation and for the people they serve. Training was through form presentation, written materials and question/answer. Purpose of the training was to inform staff of non-profit service provider agencies of their obligations to provide accommodations under the ADA and of the rights of the people they serve to be free from disability-based discrimination. 12 service provider agency staff were trained.</b></p><p><p><b><u>The ADA for Service Providers.</u> Training for non-profit service providers on the requirements of the ADA, both for them as places of public accommodation and for the people they serve. Training was through form presentation, written materials and question/answer. Purpose of the training was to inform staff of non-profit service provider agencies of their obligations to provide accommodations under the ADA and of the rights of the people they serve to be free from disability-based discrimination. 10 service provider agency staff were trained.</b></p><p><p><b><u>The Client Assistance Program: Who we are and What we do.</u> Training for the Vermont Federation of Families for Childrens Mental Health on the CAP. Training was through informal presentation, written materials, and question/answer. Purpose of the training was to make agency staff and families served aware of advocacy services available through the CAP. 8 people were trained.</b></p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
<p><strong>CAP staff developed a PowerPoint presentation for use in outreach activities scheduled for FY 2017.</strong></p><p><p><strong> CAP developed a new brochure available in seven (7) different languages for distribution to regional VR and Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired offices.</strong></p><p><p><strong>CAP staff developed a plan for producing outreach materials in alternative formats so that information about CAP is more accessible to unserved/underserved populations.</strong></p><p><p><strong> CAP staff began planning for the development of an insert that will be added to other orientation materials that are given to new clients when they request services from the Vermont Division of Blind and Visually Impaired. CAP staff also began developing a plan to make that insert more accessible to individuals who are blind by producing an audio version.</strong></p><p><p><strong>CAP developed a plan for a video that will be routinely played at VR orientation meetings so that all DVR consumers will have the opportunity to see and hear a CAP presentation describing how CAP can assist them as well as where CAP offices are located and how CAP advocates can be reached.</strong></p><p><p>CAP is a project of Vermont Legal Aid and information about CAP is accessible on its website <a href=&quot;http://www.vtlawhelp.org/&quot;>www.vtlawhelp.org</a>. The CAP brochure is also available in seven languages through the website.</p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
2
0
0
1565
4
{Empty}
<p><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
13
30
43
3
13
B. Problem areas
4
10
29
4
0
3
0
3
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
8
1
16
14
0
0
39
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
5
2
2
6
1
5
0
1
7
0
0
{Empty}
<p>Other cases: limited action (7), client failed to follow up (1), counsel and advice (1), referral (2)</p><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
9
0
0
0
0
1
0
3
0
{Empty}
<p>Other cases (20):</p><p><ul><p><li>decision reversed or a compromise (1)</li><p><li>client failed to follow up (7)</li><p><li>insufficient merit to proceed (1)</li><p><li>counsel and advice (3)</li><p><li>limited action (3)</li><p><li>negotiated settlement (1)</li><p><li>extensive service (1)</li><p><li>information & referral (2)</li><p><li>no service (1)</li><p></ul><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
0
3
10
28
2
43
B. Gender
20
23
43
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
0
0
3
0
38
0
1
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
4
1
0
0
0
1
3
0
0
3
0
0
2
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
14
1
0
3
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
5
43
E. Types of Individuals Served
2
0
32
6
0
5
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
8
<p>CAP staff received complaints from multiple consumers about the manner in which a counselor was interacting with consumers and, in particular, actions considered disrespectful to consumers expressed interests and contrary to informed choice requirements. The same counselor failed to follow procedures for timely development of IPEs. Concerns were raised with the Director and senior VR staff in quarterly meetings and reportedly corrective action was taken with the counselor. The consumers were also assigned to new counselors.</p><p><p>CAP staff identified a program-wide problem where DVR and DBVI staff failed to provide consumers with written notices of adverse decisions and an explanation of the process available for appealing such decisions. In the context of quarterly meetings with the Director and senior staff of VR, CAP staff raised its concerns regarding failure to provide written notices of decisions. The field services manager agreed to send notices to staff to remind them of the need to provide written notices whenever any services or request was denied. Despite this, the problem continues at the close of the fiscal year.</p><p><p>CAP staff identified a problem with DVR policies and procedures regarding financial participation that requires consumers to contribute to the costs of goods and services. CAP discovered that DVR is not a financial participation state. However, DVR has a practice of requiring financial contributions from consumers. This is a violation of federal law. In addition, the practice DVR utilizes results in the arbitrary denial of necessary DVR goods and services. CAP staff brought this to the attention of senior staff at DVR and are awaiting a formal resolution of the issue.</p><p><p>CAP staff sits on the VR State Rehabilitaition Council (SRC-VR) and on the Policy & Procedures subcommittee of the SRC-VR. Over the course of the reporting year CAP advocacy on each of these committees resulted in changes to the VR agencys policies and practices. Specifically, the Policy & Procedures subcommittee reviewed Chapter 102 of the Policy & Procedures Manual: Informed Choice; Chapter 103 of the Policy & Procedures Manual: Comparable Services and Benefits, and; Chapter 105 of the Policy & Procedures Manual: Appeals. CAP staff took the lead in drafting proposed changes and in leading discussion on the proposed changes. As a result of CAP advocacy Vermonts policies in these areas are clearer and offer better protection for VR consumers. In addition, CAP took the lead on drafting changes to the State Rehilitation Council Bylaws, Article VII, Section 4 relating to the duties of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Council.</p><p><p>CAP also serves on the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SRC-BVI). The SRC-BVI is charged with reviewing and advising DBVI regarding the performance of their responsibilities relating to the effectiveness of services provided, and functions performed that may affect the abil
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-other nonprofit agency
Vermont Legal Aid, Inc.
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
<p><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br></p><p><table width=319" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><thead><tr height="51"><th height="51" width="133">Type of position</th><th width="64">FTE</th><th width="58">% of position filled</th><th width="64">Person years</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr height="17"><td height="17">Professional - FT</td><td align="right">0.49</td><td align="right">100%</td><td align="right">0.49</td></tr><p><tr height="17"><td height="17">Professional - PT</td><td>0.04</td><td align="right">100%</td><td align="right">0.04</td></tr><p><tr height="17"><td height="17">Professional - Vacant</td><td></td><td></td><td></td></tr><p><tr height="17"><td height="17">Clerical FT</td><td></td><td></td><td></td></tr><p><tr height="17"><td height="17">Clerical PT</td><td></td><td></td><td></td></tr><p><tr height="17"><td height="17">Clerical - Vacant</td><td></td><td></td><td></td></tr><p><tr height="17"><td colspan="4" rowspan="4" height="68" width="319">Description: Vermont Legal Aid&rsquo;s CAP program had three 0.49FTE attorneys, two 0.49FTE paralegals, and 0.04FTE project director staff for the entire fiscal year.</td></tr><p><tr height="17"></tr><p><tr height="17"></tr><p><tr height="17"></tr><p></tr><p></tbody></table><p>"
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
<p>CAP represented a 51 year old client who contacted CAP because of difficulties he was having with his VR counselor and job developer. He complained of not getting the assistance he needed from them in order to meet his employment objective. He requested CAP attendance at VR meetings. CAP began attending these meetings. Aside from dissatisfaction with his employment team, one of the issues that was foremost in his mind was the need for new hearing aids. The old hearing aids were identified on his IPE as a barrier to employment that DVR had agreed to cover. Unfortunately, the VR counselor had refused to order a hearing aid evaluation unless the individual would agree to contribute $400.00 toward the cost of the aids. In addition, the counselor maintained that our client would be responsible for the total costs of insuring the hearing aids. CAP staff conducted some research and determined that DVR has a policy/guidance that limits DVR coverage of hearing aids to $750.00 for 1 hearing aid and $1,000.00 for 2 hearing aids. CAP also discovered that DVR has no policy or procedure to help counselors determine whether an individual has the ability to financially contribute to goods and services. These decisions were being made in an arbitrary manner by individual DVR counselors without anything more than a cursory review of their clients&rsquo; financial situations. This process violates 34 CFR section 361.54(b) et seq. which, among other things, requires a state agency to maintain written policies explaining the method it uses to determine financial need. In addition, CAP noted that, although DVR may require individuals to participate financially in the purchase of goods and services identified on the IPE, it can do so only if it has a &ldquo;financial participation&rdquo; policy. (See 34 CFR section 361.54 et seq.) Vermont DVR does not have such a policy. CAP further noted that federal law prohibits DVR from requiring the financial participation of any individual as a condition of funding VR services when the individual in need of services has been determined eligible for SSI or SSDI. (See 34 CFR section 361.54(b) (3) (ii)) As a recipient of SSDI, our client should never have been asked to contribute to the cost of the hearing aids. CAP raised these issues with DVR staff. At this point, the counselor&rsquo;s decision was overturned and DVR agreed to pay the full amount of the hearing aids. DVR also replaced this individual&rsquo;s DVR counselor and employment developer. With CAPs&rsquo; assistance our client was able to access the hearings aids he so badly needed as well as a new employment team to help meet his employment objective. Subsequent to CAP involvement, our client worked very effectively with his new job developer and new DVR counselor. By the end of this year, our client was engaged full time, in competitive, integrated employment.</p><p><p>CAP represented a 28 years old client with a TBI and visual impairment who was receiving r
Certification
Approved
Nancy Breiden, Esq.
Director, Client Assistance Program
2016-12-28
OMB Notice

OMB Control Number: 1820-0528, approved for use through 07/31/2023

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 16 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The obligation to respond to this collection is required to obtain or retain a benefit (Section 13 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended). Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4537 or email ICDocketMgr@ed.gov and reference the OMB Control Number 1820-0528. Note: Please do not return the completed form to this address.