RSA-227 for FY-2018: Submission #1038

District of Columbia
9/30/2018
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
University Legal Services, Inc.
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
N/A
Washington
DC
20002
http://www.uls.dc.org
(877) 221-4638
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Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
University Legal Services, Inc.
220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130
N/A
Washington
20002
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sbernstein@uls-dc.org
http://www.uls.dc.org
(877) 221-4638
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Additional Information
Sandy Bernstein
Sandy Bernstein
(202) 547-0198
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Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
42
0
0
0
0
0
42
B. Training Activities
8
101
University Legal Services (ULS) presented to staff at Successful Parenting, an agency that supports transition-age youth and adults who receive services from the D.C. Child and Family Services Administration and the D.C. Department on Disability Services. ULS presented on work incentives and the services available from DC Rehabilitation Services Administration (DCRSA). <p><p>ULS presented to individuals with disabilities and their families at the D.C. Secondary Transition Community of Practice's Back to School Night on the right to reasonable accommodations in post-secondary education and how to advocate for such accommodations. <p><p>ULS presented at three different DC Public Schools (DCPS) regarding Pre-Employment Transition Services and vocational rehabilitation services provided by DCRSA and the assistance CAP can provide. ULS presented to high school students with disabilities and DCPS staff.<p>ULS presented at two different Know Your Rights Trainings, organized by the D.C. Student Advocate, in for D.C.'s Ward 1 and Ward 3 about transition and vocational rehabilitation services provided by DCRSA and the assistance CAP provides. These events were targeted to parents of students with disabilities.<p>ULS presented at the Georgetown Law School Continuing Legal Education event regarding the right to transition services, vocational rehabilitation services and how to access these services and on due process procedures. ULS presented to members of the Juvenile Justice Panel with DC Superior Court and the Georgetown Law School Juvenile Justice Institute. This event was filmed and is available to all members of those groups.<p>
C. Agency Outreach
ULS conducted outreach at the Department on Disability Services' Resource Fair and the Center for Independent Living's Resource Fair. ULS spoke to over 100 individuals--adults and high school students with disabilities--about the services DCRSA and CAP provides. ULS also conducted outreach and tabled at the D.C. Deaf Awareness Day event and at the Disability Awareness event, both organized by the D.C. Office on Disability Rights. <p><p>ULS conducted outreach to D.C. students with disabilities and their families at the River Terrace Work Development Back to School event, DC Secondary Transition Community of Practice Back to School Night, and the Special Education Co-op event at the Department on Disability Services. ULS provided information on DCRSA's services, transition services, accommodations in post-secondary education and the assistance CAP provides. <p><p>ULS attended DC's EdFest where we conducted outreach to DC residents with disabilities and distributed information about vocational rehabilitation services and CAP services.<p>ULS also conducted outreach and tabled at the D.C. Superior Court's Mental Health and Habilitation Fair and spoke to people with disabilities, families members, providers, attorneys and judges about DCRSA services and the assistance CAP provides. <p><p>At all of our outreach events, the majority of individuals there are members of minority populations. ULS also ensures that our publications are translated into Spanish so that they are accessible to the Spanish-speaking population in D.C. <p><p><p><p>
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
0
0
350
9
0
N/A <P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
N/A <P><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
11
23
34
0
8
B. Problem areas
28
27
27
3
0
31
2
0
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
3
7
12
0
2
2
26
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
17
2
3
2
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
9
0
1
1
13
0
0
0
0
2
Two of our cases involved ensuring implementation of Independent Living Plans. <P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
1
7
13
11
2
34
B. Gender
15
19
34
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
4
0
0
25
0
4
1
0
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
1
3
0
0
0
0
3
0
2
1
0
1
4
2
1
0
0
0
0
0
6
1
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
7
0
0
0
0
34
E. Types of Individuals Served
3
0
31
2
4
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
2
ULS continued to serve as the Chair of the Policy Committee of the D.C. State Rehabilitation Council. ULS reviewed and provided detailed comments on proposed DCRSA policies. Specifically, during FY18, ULS was successful in preventing a de facto residency requirement in DCRSA's eligibility policy. This improved and facilitated access to DCRSA for individuals with a disability who are homeless or for whom providing proof of residency is a barrier. At ULS' urging, DCRSA also agreed to remove all language requiring medication compliance from their policies. In our experience, DCRSA most often requires medication compliance for individuals with mental illness and suspends services to those individuals without due process until the individual can prove medication compliance via a doctor's note. ULS believes this violates the individual's right to rehabilitation services under WIOA and their civil rights under the ADA. Therefore, in ensuring that this language was removed from DCRSA's policies, ULS upheld the rights of individuals with mental illness to receive vocational rehabilitation services and their civil right to determine their own medical treatment. Additionally, ULS successfully advocated for pre-ETS eligibility to align with IDEA transition eligibility in DC. DCRSA had indicated in their draft policy that pre-ETS was available to individuals age 16-21. However, IDEA transition eligibility in DC is from age 14-22. As a result of ULS' advocacy, DCRSA changed pre-ETS eligibility to 14-22, expanding the number of students with disabilities who will receive pre-ETS services. <p><p>ULS also has commented on other DCRSA draft policies but DCRSA has not yet indicated whether they will accept ULS' recommended changes. Those policies are as follows: (1) Due Process Policy: The draft policy stated that DCRSA will have a written administrative review decision which will be sent to the supervisor and/or VR counselor to implement and in the client's file. However, it failed to explicitly state that a copy of the written decision will also go to the client. Since a client needs a copy of the decision to either ensure it is implemented correctly or appeal to a due process hearing, ULS advocated that the policy should explicitly state that the client will receive a written copy of the administrative review decision. ULS hopes, and believes, DCRSA will make this change. (2) Case Transfer Policy: DCRSA's draft case transfer policy only referenced single case transfers. However, when a VR counselor leaves the agency, is out on FMLA leave, or is promoted, DCRSA has to transfer many cases, sometimes as many as 100, depending on the VR counselor's caseload. So, ULS recommended that the case transfer policy be revised to include guidance for multiple case transfers in addition to individual case transfers. ULS has not received any update on this from DCRSA. (3) Pre-ETS: In addition to revising the age of students eligible for pre-ETS, which DCRSA did change, U
B. Litigation
3
1
3
ULS did not engage in systemic litigation under CAP. <P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-Protection and Advocacy agency
University Legal Services
No
N/A
B. Staff Employed
Executive Director (professional, partially funded by CAP): Jane Brown is the Executive Director of University Legal Services. She supervises and oversees all employees and grants of the agency. A very small portion of her salary is billed to CAP. <p><p>Legal Director/CAP Director (professional, partially funded by CAP): Sandy Bernstein supervises all of the legal and policy work at University Legal Services, including the work under CAP. She closely supervises the staff attorneys at ULS who handle the individual CAP cases and participates in policy discussions and outreach. She also handles a small number of individual CAP cases herself. She bills 10% of her time to CAP, although that time was increased for a portion of the year when the lead CAP attorney was on maternity leave. <p><p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP): Margaret Hart is the lead CAP attorney at ULS and handles the majority of CAP cases, trainings, outreach and policy initiatives. She is a member of the State Rehabilitation Council. She bills approximately 70% of her time to CAP.<p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP): Francis Nugent also represents CAP clients and participates in outreach under the CAP grant. He bills 25% of his time to CAP<p>Staff Attorney (professional, partially funded by CAP) Jennifer Halper represented CAP clients until her position was eliminated in October 2017. Less than 3% of her salary was billed to CAP this fiscal year.<p>Accountant/Bookkeeper (professional, partially funded by CAP): Lan Ji is responsible for the billing and accounting for the CAP grant. A very small portion of her salary is billed to CAP.<p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
1. ULS represented a 34-year-old deaf woman who was denied funding from DCRSA to attend master level classes though a specific educational institution. The client had previously received a favorable decision from DCRSA, after an administrative review meeting, to fund the graduate level classes. DCRSA then refused to fund a specific institution because it was not an authorized DCRSA vendor even though it was the only vendor that offered the classes and had accepted the client. After informal advocacy failed, ULS filed a fair hearing request with the Office of Administrative Hearings. DRDC was quickly able to negotiate a settlement for the client which included full funding at the client's chosen educational program and funding for a computer, software and transportation to and from the school. ULS also secured CART services for the client at the school. <p><p>2. ULS represented a 27-year-old woman with a learning disability who sought assistance after her DCRSA vocational rehabilitation counselor was verbally abusive to her. In addition, the counselor would not move forward to create an IPE until she had documentation from the client's therapist that she was able to work. ULS contacted the counselor's supervisor with evidence of the verbal abuse and requested that the client be re-assigned to a new counselor. The supervisor agreed to do so. ULS also argued that it was improper for DCRSA to seek information from the client's therapist, since there was no indication that she was unable to work and the client was meeting with the therapist for personal reasons. The supervisor agreed with ULS and moved forward to create an IPE for the client with the job placement services she requested. Then, DCRSA refused to send a referral to the job placement vendor of her choice, stating that the client must work with the agency's internal job placement specialists due to an agency directive (that DCRSA refused to provide). ULS requested an administrative review meeting, arguing that the client had the right to an informed choice of job placement providers, she had selected a provider (an authorized DCRSA vendor) based on her research of her options and job placement services are not subject to the comparable services requirement. ULS also reported that the client had contacted the internal job placement specialist and she was rude and curt to her. After the administrative review meeting and ULS' presentation of the client's case, DCRSA agreed to fund job placement services at the client's chosen vendor.<p>3. ULS represented a 42-year-old man with a hearing impairment. The individual had received a hearing evaluation from DCRSA and was attempting to get the hearing aids recommended in the evaluation. He was in jeopardy of losing his job because he did not have the hearing aids he needed. DCRSA had originally told him that he could get the hearing aids through Gallaudet University. Then, without providing any explanation, DCRSA required him to go thr
Certification
Approved
Sandy Bernstein
Legal Director
2018-11-07
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