RSA-227 for FY-2017: Submission #951

Minnesota
9/30/2017
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
(800) 292-4150
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
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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)
13
0
0
1
0
0
14
B. Training Activities
36
1336
<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. Many 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 on VR services and Social Security work incentives to caseworkers at Metropolitan Center for Independent Living, which serves persons with disabilities in the Twin Cities metro area.</p><p><p>Staff delivered a training titled &ldquo;Investing in Integration - Olmstead and Employment&rdquo; to individuals with disabilities, as well as their families and advocates. The training was sponsored by Minnesota APSE/A Working Life Alliance. A similar training titled, &ldquo;Minnesota&rsquo;s Olmstead Plan, HCBS and Work: Where is Minnesota Now and Where are We Going with Integrated Competitive Employment,&rdquo; was sponsored by Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation and aimed towards day program providers.</p><p><p>Staff delivered a continuing legal education training to Minnesota attorneys and school staff about WIOA, VR services and special education.</p><p><p>Staff presented a training on employment law, Social Security work incentives and SSB transition services to students at the Minnesota Academy for the Blind in southern Minnesota. Similar programs about Social Security work incentives and vocational rehabilitation services were delivered to Jewish Children and Family Services case managers in Hennepin County, which serves the western Twin Cities metro area in and surrounding Minneapolis, and to employment services specialists at Lifetrack, a community rehabilitation program in St. Paul.</p><p><p>Staff delivered a training to persons with disabilities at the Self-Advocates Conference in Hennepin County, titled &ldquo;Difficult People/Difficult Situations.&rdquo;</p><p><p>Staff made a presentation to Hennepin County Judges and Referees about race, special education and VR services in Minnesota, and MDLC/CAP services.</p><p><p>Staff delivered a training to Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota staff about MDLC and CAP services and resources. Similar trainings were delivered to staff and individuals with disabilities at the Work Incentives Connection - Goodwill Easter Seals in Ramsey County, the metro area serving St. Paul and surrounding areas, at BLIND, Inc., and members of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind.</p><p><p>Staff made a presentation about MDLC and CAP advocacy services at an adoptive parent support group meeting in Southern Minnesota sponsored by the Adoption Support Network. Most of the parents attending the meeting had adopted children with disabilities, primarily related to fetal alcohol syndrome.</p><p><p>Staff made pr
C. Agency Outreach
<p>During this report period, CAP staff engaged in 5 outreach events throughout the state, which provided information about CAP services, VR rights and other disability rights. This outreach included disseminating information at a staff meeting at the Mankato Open Door Health Center, a non-profit community health center serving Southwestern Minnesota, and Project Community Connect, an event at the Mankato Civic Center for low-income community members needing information about social service resources.</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><u>Communities of Color</u>: CAP staff delivered a presentation to parents and community members associated with the Minneapolis NAACP Child Protection Committee. The presentation topic was vocational rehabilitation and CAP services, and special education. Staff also provided resource information at an event sponsored by Minneapolis Services for Adults which provides services to members of the African-American and Latino communities.</p><p><p><u>Transition-Aged Students</u>: CAP staff presented a training on case law developments and trends for PACER vocational rehabilitation and special education advocates in the Twin Cities area. A similar training was sponsored by PACER in Rochester, in southeast Minnesota, where staff presented a training on services for transition-age youth with disabilities to parents and families of students with disabilities. This training was reprised for parents and families in northeastern Minnesota, and in Ramsey County, all sponsored by PACER. CAP staff made presentations titled &ldquo;Employment Related Options for Young Adults with FASD&rdquo; and &ldquo;Special Education 101&rdquo; and staffed a resource table at a conference sponsored by the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Attending the conference and the break-out sessions were parents of students with disabilities, attorneys, social workers, state agency staff and community advocates. CAP also staffed a table at the Transition Resource Fair sponsored by the Northwest Hennepin Community Transition Interagency Committee.</p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
11
2
0
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<p>N/A</p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
21
33
54
17
29
B. Problem areas
4
7
22
4
2
6
0
8
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
8
0
14
0
1
0
23
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
12
7
0
1
0
1
1
0
1
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
5
1
2
1
3
7
1
1
2
0
<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
7
10
8
29
0
54
B. Gender
20
34
54
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
1
2
0
5
0
37
2
7
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
5
1
0
2
0
1
2
0
7
0
0
0
5
3
0
0
0
0
0
2
14
0
0
1
0
9
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
54
E. Types of Individuals Served
12
0
39
0
3
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
<p>One aspect of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) implementation has been the requirement, under Section 511, that information and counseling about competitive, integrated employment be provided to individuals seeking work or already working in subminimum wage jobs. In Minnesota, VRS has contracted with state independent living centers to deliver such information and counseling and generate required WIOA documentation of these and related activities. During the fiscal year, VRS consulted with CAP staff on several occasions about issues related to Section 511 information and career counseling. VRS and the ILC advocates were, and continue to be especially concerned about difficulties with guardians of subminimum wage workers. ILC advocates report many instances of guardians cutting off access to wards for information and counseling about competitive, integrated employment. They also raise concerns about barriers to such information and counseling posed by the sheltered workshops where those individuals work. CAP staff provided feedback to VRS officials about these issues and consulted on the forms developed and used in Section 511 documentation. CAP staff also, on request by VRS, developed and delivered an hour-long training to independent living center staff about guardianship, scope of guardianship activities and responsibilities, and how to effectively work with guardians to ensure access to wards interested in information and career counseling about competitive, integrated employment. Since the training was delivered, CAP has continued to consult with VRS officials about forms used in Section 511 documentation. CAP staff are also starting monitoring activities at sheltered workshops reported to be blocking access to integrated, competitive work counseling or opportunities.</p><p><p>CAP staff also continued to monitor and provide advocacy when possible regarding efforts by state vocational rehabilitation agency officials to restrict services due to financial constraints imposed by WIOA implementation. Both VRS and SSB are operating under very restrictive order of selection priority rules. CAP staff continued to question SSB officials about the status of their waiting list and efforts to move individuals from that list to active VR service provision. Similarly, staff monitored the status of VRS&rsquo; waiting list, which through much of the fiscal year had more than 1,500 individuals listed, all of whom are unable to move forward with employment because they did not meet top priority criteria for immediate VR services. Staff also participated in State Rehabilitation Council discussions about restricting priority for services even further, providing information and legal analysis to Council members about federal and state laws and rules regarding order of selection procedures.</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>Provide a description of all CAP positions (see instructions)</p><p><p>Attorney FT 1.12 FTE 100% of year filled 1.12 Person years</p><p><p>Legal Advocate FT .76 FTE 100% of year filled .76 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>A woman with visual impairments living in Northwest Minnesota called CAP after she was notified that her SSB case was being closed. She felt her SSB counselor had promised her funding for the cost of assistive technology (an iPhone and accessories) for use in college classes and to be able to navigate going to and from the college. The woman bought the assistive technology and requested reimbursement from SSB, but SSB did not reimburse her for the cost even though a year had passed and she had submitted the information that her SSB counselor requested. The woman also wanted her SSB case reopened because she needed assistance with job search. CAP investigated and assisted the woman with an SSB appeal, and requested mediation on her behalf. Negotiations with SSB before the mediation resulted in an agreement for SSB to reimburse the woman for the cost of the assistive technology, reopen her case and transfer her to a different SSB counselor for help with her employment search.</p><p><p>A woman who is blind called CAP, unhappy with the VR services she had received from SSB. The woman was receiving training on assistive technology and Braille in preparation to return to college to finish her bachelor&rsquo;s degree. During the training, the woman developed medical problems that delayed her training progress. SSB communicated to her that they were concerned about this lack of progress. The woman worried that SSB would stop paying for training and stop supporting her job goal of becoming a social worker, for which she needed to finish her degree. Additionally, the woman was frustrated that SSB had not yet provided the assistive technology that they agreed to provide, so she was not receiving training on computer use. CAP advocated for the woman at a meeting with her SSB counselor and her counselor&rsquo;s supervisor, resulting in a mutually agreeable timeline for training progress. SSB also agreed to order needed assistive technology, including a laptop and Braille display.</p><p><p>A woman with severe PTSD called CAP wanting to work with a different VR counselor and concerned that VRS had unfairly denied her funding for computer repair. Homeless for several years, the woman had difficulty finding consistent, fulfilling work. She enjoyed creating crafts and had sold her crafts occasionally, but she had not pursued selling her crafts as a significant source of income. CAP investigated the situation and advised the woman about VRS&rsquo; policies related to small business development and funding for computers to conduct an employment search. CAP then advocated on the woman&rsquo;s behalf at a meeting with VRS management staff, including her desire to receive VR services from a different VRS office. VRS agreed, and CAP staff assisted with the transfer of the case, attending a meeting with the new VR counselor to discuss employment goals and the services the woman believed she needed to reach those goals. Consequently, the woman and her new VR
Certification
Approved
Drew Schaffer
Executive Director
2017-12-19
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