RSA-227 for FY-2019: Submission #1047

Massachusetts
9/30/2019
General Information
Designated Agency Identification
Massachusetts Office on Disability
One Ashburton Place #1305
{Empty}
Boston
MA
02108
http://www.mass.gov/mod
(800) 322-2020
(800) 322-2020
Operating Agency (if different from Designated Agency)
Massachusetts Office on Disability
One Ashburton Place #1305
{Empty}
Boston
02108
Massachusetts
http://www.mass.gov/mod
(800) 322-2020
(800) 322-2020
Additional Information
Naomi Goldberg
Naomi Goldberg
(617) 727-7440
{Empty}
Part I. Non-case Services
A. Information and Referral Services (I&R)
398
207
0
293
1999
221
3118
B. Training Activities
131
3098
CAP began FFY19 with a plan to perform specific targeted training and outreach. Our plans had to be modified, however when one of the CAP Advocates unexpectedly had to take a medical leave that lasted six months. While CAP had fewer cases in FFY19 than in previous years, the complexity of the ongoing cases and the associated attention that is required for them has increased. For this reason, CAP had to divert attention from providing trainings during the first half of FFY19 to focus on case related work. <p><p>Building on the success of the previous year, CAP held a Listening Session with one area VR office. In these sessions we provide an overview of CAP, explaining the various ways that our involvement in cases earlier in the process can be helpful to VR, while simultaneously seeking guidance from the VR staff as to how we can best work together to serve consumers. CAP considers VR to be our best source of referrals and therefore is committed to consistently working at building and maintaining our relationships with them with the understanding that we have different roles and will sometimes disagree. <p><p>CAP held a workshop at the annual consumer conference for the general VR agency. It was titled, &ldquo;CAP, the Independent Voice of Vocational Rehabilitation.&rdquo; While the workshop focused on the VR/Consumer relationship, it publicized CAP as a resource for consumers to gain knowledge about VR services and to maximize the potential of the services in their effort to secure and maintain competitive integrated employment and economic independence. The workshop walked attendees through an abbreviated simulation of a VR case, emphasizing the importance of the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and methods of problem-solving through self-advocacy and CAP. Throughout the presentation, consumers had the opportunity to ask questions and share their VR experiences. The goals for the workshop included learning: the core services of vocational rehabilitation; the role and responsibilities of the consumer and the VR agency; the critical role of the IPE to VR service delivery; and how to advocate for better services on their own or with the assistance of CAP. This opportunity provided CAP with the forum to reach underserved consumers for the rural areas in the State. <p><p>CAP offered VR/IL/CAP presentation at two inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and a vision rehabilitation center for people who are blind and visually impaired. The latter event evolved into a question and answer session on Title I of the ADA. CAP also provided a Title I training to students with disabilities at a university as well as to two regional employment collaboratives that are comprised of multiple agencies that contract with the VR agencies to provide employment and job placement services to people with disabilities. <p><p>During FFY19, Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD), the agency in which CAP is housed, provided seven other trainings on Tit
C. Agency Outreach
CAP began FFY19 with a plan to perform specific targeted outreach. Our plans had to be modified, however when one of the CAP Advocates unexpectedly had to take a medical leave that lasted six months. While CAP had fewer cases in FFY19 than in previous years, the complexity of the ongoing cases and the associated attention that is required for them has increased. For this reason, CAP had to divert attention from performing outreach during the first half of FFY19 to focus on case related work. With that in mind CAP continued to publicize its new promotional video through social media and reached out to the VR agencies and the independent living centers to notify them of its existence and to request that they include it on their respective websites. CAP also created a marketing poster to inform VR applicants and clients of the availability of free and confidential advocacy services. The poster spoke to the questions, confusion, and difficulty VR applicants and clients often experience when applying for, receiving, and closing out VR services. CAP provided copies to the general VR agency and to the independent living centers. We also distributed them to the disability services offices at all of the state colleges and universities. We assumed that this statewide distribution of CAP information would reach unserved/underserved populations. <p><p>CAP contacted three nonprofit organizations that represent specific unserved/underserved populations and one large multi-service agency that serves a range of unserved/underserved populations to provide information on VR/IL/CAP and to offer a presentation. These efforts did not result in an in-person training. CAP distributed printed CAP brochures while attending conferences, career fairs, and events where we are invited to setup a resource table. These included two transition events at schools for students with severe disabilities, an employment first event hosted by the state&rsquo;s Department of Developmental Services, a Leadership Forum for Youth with Disabilities, a state agency sponsored career fair for job seekers with disabilities, and an event for the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council that serves a statewide constituency. CAP&rsquo;s presence at the general VR agency&rsquo;s consumer conference gave CAP the opportunity to provide information and outreach about CAP/VR/IL to consumers from all over the state, including individuals representing unserved/underserved populations. Additionally, CAP materials are distributed at all MOD presentations, which span a wide audience across the state. When asked, CAP mailed over 300 brochures (English and Spanish) that would be distributed by the general VR agency during their new eligibility pilot. Upon request, CAP also provides the brochure in electronic form to various disability organizations and to the public. MOD hosts an Annual Summit to which disability organizations and the general public from all over the state are invited incl
D. Information Disseminated To The Public By Your Agency
0
2
0
69147
6
0
<P><p>
E. Information Disseminated About Your Agency By External Media Coverage
<P><p>
Part II. Individual Case Services
A. Individuals served
24
41
65
0
16
B. Problem areas
6
11
43
4
0
26
2
1
C. Intervention Strategies for closed cases
23
17
7
0
1
1
49
D. Reasons for closing individuals' case files
23
1
6
1
0
10
0
0
8
0
0
0
<P><p>
E. Results achieved for individuals
19
1
0
1
11
5
3
7
0
0
<P><p>
Part III. Program Data
A. Age
2
11
21
31
0
65
B. Gender
28
37
65
C. Race/ethnicity of Individuals Served
5
0
2
8
0
44
2
4
D. Primary disabling condition of individuals served
6
0
0
0
1
0
10
3
5
0
0
1
2
0
0
0
0
1
0
2
13
1
0
3
7
6
0
0
0
2
0
1
1
0
65
E. Types of Individuals Served
4
0
59
3
3
0
Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation
A. Non-Litigation Systemic Activities
6
In FFY19 CAP participated in multiple systemic activities that resulted in change to VR practice and policy. With the exception of one change made with the VR agency that serves people who are blind, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, most of the systemic activity and change in which CAP participated occurred within the general VR agency, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC). During the past year, CAP has increased its efforts to transform the SRC of MRC into a more active and knowledgeable body that works in partnership with MRC and can offer meaningful feedback about VR services. CAP&rsquo;s consistent participation in multiple committees on the SRC has substantially increased our interaction with executive staff and in turn strengthened CAP&rsquo;s relationship with the agency. CAP also consistently provides feedback via the SRC of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB). During FFY19 systemic change was accomplished in several areas. Both individually and through its work on the SRC, the input, feedback, and systemic advocacy that CAP has provided to ensure alignment with federal regulations has resulted in several changes within MRC and MCB. -CAP discovered that more than half of MRC consumers had not been receiving the annual consumer needs and satisfaction online surveys because they lacked email addresses in the agency&rsquo;s system. Although MRC believed that the response rate to both surveys still yielded statistically significant results, CAP argued that given the potential differences in characteristics and therefore needs of consumers without email addresses vs. those with email addresses, only counting responses from consumers with email addresses may be skewing the results. CAP subsequently collaborated with the SRC on developing a short-form needs assessment survey that MRC agreed to mail to consumers without email addresses in the next federal fiscal year, which will also see the development of a short-form consumer satisfaction survey for clients without email addresses. <p><p>-CAP also discovered that consumers who exited the VR program at MRC without having an IPE implemented (or in some cases, developed) were not being included in the annual satisfaction survey. CAP argued that it is important to understand why consumers did not have an IPE implemented and to therefore seek input from those consumers. MRC subsequently agreed to include these consumers in the next satisfaction survey but record their answers separately from those whose IPEs were implemented. <p><p>-CAP&rsquo;s active input into the SRC&rsquo;s recommendations that for the first time (in at least several years) require concrete documentation from MRC to ensure accountability from MRC will result in better educating the SRC on the details of MRC&rsquo;s VR practices in order for the SRC to provide more informed, detailed, and specific recommendations. The level of detail and number of deliverables presented in the SRC's
B. Litigation
0
0
0
<P><p>
Part V. Agency Information
A. Designated Agency
External-other public agency
Massachusetts Office on Disability
No
n/a
B. Staff Employed
CAP employed three full time employees in FFY2019 <P><p>
Part VI. Case Examples
Case Examples
A 32-year-old VR client with autism contacted CAP seeking assistance with obtaining funding from the VR agency for transportation to school. CAP&rsquo;s investigation revealed the VR agency was not providing transportation funding because the agency had already paid $1,000 toward his classes and books for the semester toward his associates degree. At the time, $1,000 was the maximum obligation or fee cap on VR services per client per fiscal year that the VR agency had instituted. The VR agency had also instituted a waiver process for clients to request funding beyond the $1,000 that required approval by the unit supervisor, area office director, and regional director. It appeared no one at this VR area office had informed this client of that process. When CAP informed the VR agency that the client has the right to apply for a waiver especially given that he&rsquo;s on disability benefits and is therefore not obligated to pay for his VR services, the VR counselor responded that being on benefits doesn&rsquo;t change the $1,000 cap and that she doubted a waiver would be approved. She said the client would have to demonstrate financial need. An example she gave of financial need was having very little in one&rsquo;s bank account. She said she would also need him to write a justification for his need. CAP informed the VR counselor of federal regulations prohibiting a financial needs test for VR clients on disability benefits and noted that the VR agency&rsquo;s own maximum obligation policy document said the VR agency anticipated approving waivers for SSI/DI clients in absence of comparable benefits. The counselor spoke with her area director and came back with the waiver form but still required the client write a justification. CAP pointed out that the VR agency&rsquo;s maximum obligation policy document says the counselor must complete the waiver form, which includes the justification. The counselor came back confirming the waiver had been approved. <p><p>Client had been in the VR system for over 15 years with a self- employment goal as a digital printer/marketer. Before the onset of her disability, client worked in a printing company where she did copy and layout. In her previous job, these tasks were done manually, however in the current market, these tasks are performed through software programs. The VR agency sent a closure letter to client stating that she was not making sufficient progress toward her VR goal and that the agency had provided all of its resources to assist her with the setting of her home-based business to no avail. Client requested CAP assistance to help her evaluate whether the VR agency was following the regulations around case closure. CAP reviewed a significant number of documents from client&rsquo;s case file and had many conversations with client about her progress towards her employment goal. Client was fearful that if VR closed her case, then she would not be able to reapply for services. CAP noted a few concerns wi
Certification
Approved
Massachusetts Office on Disabilty
CAP Director
2019-12-26
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