RSA-227 for FY-2017: Submission #976

New Jersey
9/30/2017
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Disability Rights New Jersey
210 S Broad Street
FL 3
Trenton
NJ
08608
http://www.drnj.org
(800) 922-7233
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Disability Rights New Jersey
210 S Broad Street
FL 3
Trenton
08608
New Jersey
advocate@drnj.org
http://www.drnj.org
(800) 922-7233
{Empty}
Additional Information
Lillie Lowe-Reid
Lillie Lowe-Reid
(609) 292-9742
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
11
4
0
2
0
29
46
B. Training Activities
3
205
CAP staff provided information about the CAP program and transition services to 50 staff at the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI). This training was one of a series of trainings CBVI is providing to new counselors and a refresher training for more experience counselors.<p><p><p>CAP staff provided outreach and training to transitioning students at a Transition Fair sponsored by Brick Township School District. Recipients included 70 consumers, 10 family members, and 30 professionals.<p><p><p>CAP Coordinator participated in a panel discussion at the DRNJ sponsored Assistive Technology Summit. Topics included: DRNJ programs services, transition, vocational rehabilitation, eligibility criteria and priorities of the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities. Recipients included five consumers, 10 family members, and 30 professionals. <p><p><p><p>
C. Agency Outreach
Staff distributed resources to attendees of the Family Resource Fair sponsored by Children&rsquo;s Future in Mercer County. Many attendees were Spanish-speaking families. Publications included CAP, PABSS, Transition, and DRNJ. 20 consumers, 40 family, and 20 professionals attended.<p><p><p>Staff distributed resources to attendees of the Youth Resource Fair sponsored by Mercer County Family Support Organization. Many attendees were Spanish-speaking families. Publications included DRNJ, CAP, Transition, and PABSS. 25 consumers, 100 family members, and 25 professionals attended.<p><p><p>Staff provided brochures to several churches in the African American Community in Burlington County. <p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
2
1780
14
0
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
Title: Opportunity and Resource Fair: Publication: CBVI public email: Eyes Like Mine, Inc. The City of Newark will present an Opportunity and Resource Fair for People who are Blind and Vision Impaired at Newark City Hall, 920 Broad Street, Newark, NJ from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibitors will include: NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Newark School of the Arts, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Social Security Administration, Disability Rights-NJ, with information on the CAP Program, and more. For further information contact: info@eyeslikemine.org <p><p>Title:Disability Awareness Month at Ocean County College Publication: Forked River Gazette: Find out what resources are available to individuals with disabilities. Come speak with representatives from ASPEN (Asperger, Autism Spectrum Education Network), Commission for the Blind, Disability Rights New Jersey (includes the CAP Program), Disability Services and Assistive Technology, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), MOCEANS Center for Independent Living, New Jersey Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Ocean County Commission for Individuals with Disabilities, Ocean County Human Relations Commission, Community Health Law Project, among others. <p><p>Title:Ocean County College Marks Disability Awareness Month with &lsquo;Hidden Resources' Publication:The Sandpaper: Find out what resources are available to individuals with disabilities, as Ocean County College, in collaboration with the Ocean County Human Relations Commission and the Department of Human Services&rsquo; Office for Individuals with Disabilities, marks Disability Awareness Month in October. &ldquo;Hidden Resources&rdquo; will take place on the second floor of the Larson Student Center, on OCC&rsquo;s main campus in Toms River, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 10. All members of the public are invited to attend. Admission is free. On site will be representatives from: Asperger, Autism Spectrum Education Network (ASPEN); Commission for the Blind; Disability Rights New Jersey (ncludes the CAP Program); Disability Services and Assistive Technology; Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR); MOCEANS Center for Independent Living; New Jersey Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Ocean County Commission for Individuals with Disabilities; Ocean County Human Relations Commission; and Community Health Law Project, among others. <p><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
61
41
102
3
83
B. Problem areas
1
1
2
20
0
81
0
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
11
1
6
2
2
0
22
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
15
3
0
0
0
3
0
0
1
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
1
1
0
3
10
3
0
2
0
2
Client withdrew [4] <p><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
3
15
30
51
3
102
B. Gender
49
53
102
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
13
0
3
26
0
58
0
2
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
0
5
0
2
0
3
14
0
2
6
0
2
5
2
0
1
0
0
2
5
23
0
0
0
5
13
0
0
0
4
0
2
0
6
102
E. Types of Individuals Served
24
1
78
0
0
1
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
3
DRNJ has raised policy concerns to the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) regarding its interpretation of financial participation by recipients of benefits from the Social Security AdmInistration, their low caps on reimbursement for training and post-secondary education, and the lack of transparency regarding their policies and procedures. DRNJ requested the support of RSA, and, as a result, in November 2016, DVRS agreed to address these issues by revising their policy manual. DVRS agreed to provide the draft to DRNJ prior to review and adoption by the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). After a long delay, DVRS met with DRNJ and provided a draft of their policy on post-secondary education, including a reasonable time and/or dollar schedule. DRNJ generally supported the draft, which incorporated WIOA support of employment advancement to include statements on post-secondary education, community colleges, four-year colleges/universities, proprietary/private career schools, and technical institutes. DVRS proposed funding for the first 60 college credits at the in-county community college rate with the remaining 60 credits at the rate of in-state tuition at Rutgers University. Exceptions are available based on disability issues, program or course availability, and support for graduate education if advanced training is required. DRNJ asked that DVRS consider actual costs for career and technical schools, including factors such as comparable programs in a geographical area and the opportunity for higher paid employment opportunities resulting from improved skills. <p> DRNJ has long taken the position that recipients of SSA be exempt from financial participation and supported this in the draft. DRNJ agreed that a portion of SSA benefits may be used for maintenance and living expenses. DRNJ did challenge the proposed rate for books and supplies as too low and asked DVRS to reconsider commuting distance and time. DRNJ also asked that DVRS consider mitigating or extenuating circumstances prior to the termination of funding. DRNJ awaits further review and comment from DVRS and the SRC. <p><p>DRNJ continues to challenge the referral of DVRS clients seeking employment training in segregated settings, and DVRS has agreed to review this practice. <p><p>DRNJ continues to inform and challenge DVRS to refer clients to them at any time in the vocational rehabilitation process. <p><p><p><p>
B. Litigation
1
0
1
DRNJ assisted a 20-year-old student who is deaf and receives Social Security benefits. He is enrolled at Gallaudet University. The New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) found him eligible for services and developed an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The IPE provided DVRS sponsorship for him to obtain a college degree to fulfill the goal to become an English Language and Literature professor. However, DVRS agreed to pay only a limited amount toward the cost for him to attend college, in accordance with their caps on financial assistance for college. As a result, the client was required to take out loans to enroll in the university. <p><p>Federal regulations prohibit DVRS from requiring financial participation by Social Security beneficiaries in the receipt of vocational rehabilitation services. Therefore, DRNJ requested that the client receive full sponsorship for his college tuition and costs. When DVRS did not respond, DRNJ requested a fair hearing as provided for in state and federal law. <p><p>The New Jersey Administrative Procedures Act requires that requests for fair hearings be transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) within 30 days of receipt of the request. Again, DVRS did not respond, and DRNJ was required to file a Notice of Appeal in the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. The Appellate Division agreed with DRNJ and ordered the fair hearing request transmitted to OAL. Prior to a hearing, DRNJ and DVRS agreed to a settlement agreement whereby DVRS would pay the outstanding loans for tuition and costs the client had incurred, except for the loans incurred during a semester when client&rsquo;s GPA fell below the standard required for sponsorship. The settlement agreement further provided that client&rsquo;s tuition and costs would be covered in its entirety by DVRS as long as client remained eligible for college sponsorship. <p><p>Historically, the DVRS case service policy manual has been available on the New Jersey Department of Labor&rsquo;s website. At the time DRNJ filed this appeal, the policies were not published on the website. After the submission of the appeal, the policies were once again available on the Department&rsquo;s website.<p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
Disability Rights New Jersey
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
(A) Type of Position; (B) Full-Time equivalent; (C) % of year position filled; (D) Person-years (A) Coordinator; (B) 70%; (C) 100%; (D) 0.70 (A) Professional; (B) 50%; (C) 100%; (D) 0.50 (A) Professional; (B) 50%; (C) 100%; (D) 0.50 (A) Professional; (B) 50%; (C) 100%; (D) 0.50 (A) Clerical; (B) 220 (C) 100% (D) 2.20 <p><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
DRNJ intervened on behalf of a 28-year-old resident of Somerset County, diagnosed with dyslexia. The client does not receive Social Security benefits, Medicare or Medicaid. She was denied sponsorship for Medical Assistant Training due to below average scores on standardized entrance exams. She completed a brain training program, retook the test, but her scores still fell below the entrance exam minimums. DRNJ successfully sought an accommodation from the school to allow her to enroll in the 10-month course. However, she was denied sponsorship from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS). Without sponsorship from DVRS, the client was required to take out loans, between $5,000 to $6,000, to cover the cost of the course. DRNJ advocated with DVRS, who agreed to monitor her academic performance for the first two months. If the client performed satisfactorily during this time, DVRS agreed to cover the remaining cost of the training. An Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) was created. The client did well during the trial period and received a tuition voucher for $4,000 for the remaining tuition.<p><p><p>DRNJ intervened on behalf of a 30-year-old resident of Union County, diagnosed with anxiety and depression. At the time she contacted DRNJ, the client had recently applied for both SSI and Medicaid. She had been a client of DVRS for three years and was entering her final semester as an undergraduate occupational therapy student with intentions to pursue a master&rsquo;s degree. She contacted DRNJ when DVRS denied funding for tuition and books, placing her in jeopardy of missing deadline for summer enrollment. DVRS stated that they would withhold funding until her aunt promised to pay the remaining balance of the semester. Although the client resided with her aunt, DRNJ challenged DVRS&rsquo;s position that the aunt had any financial responsibility for the client. DRNJ found that the client met the conditions allowing DVRS to pay for summer courses, as she was both meeting spring semester requirements and was in the final semester of the program. DRNJ&rsquo;s advocacy was successful. DVRS agreed to provide the voucher for tuition and book in time to avoid out-of-pocket expenses by the client. DVRS also agreed to create an amended Individualized Plan for Employment to include a master&rsquo;s degree education.<p><p><p>DRNJ intervened on behalf of a 32-year-old resident of Union County diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a severe painful nerve-ending disease. The client lives independently and receives SSDI and Medicaid. After she was determined eligible for DVRS services, the client worked with her VR counselor on a vocational goal as a Distanced Credentialed Counselor, which holds a master's degree designation. Due to the effects of her disability, the client required an accredited online program, rather than traditional classroom study. Yearly tuition was $20,000 and was not fully covered by financial aid. DVRS initially offered
Certification
Approved
Joseph B Young
Executive Director
2018-12-20
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