Let’s Learn About the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)
The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is not a part of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS). CAP is in a separate state agency which provides freedom to advocate for the DRS client.
CAP’s knowledge of the DRS program comes from contact with DRS counselors and administration. Because of this contact and familiarity with DRS rules and federal policy governing DRS, CAP can be of service to the DRS client who wants to get the most out of their services.
In this section on the Client Assistance Program, we have included editions of A Tip of the Hat from CAP and CAP Podcasts to help the DRS client learn how to get their needs met in a large state agency with extensive public policy. Many clients approach DRS services knowing very little about their own employment needs and very little about how DRS delivers their services.
Some of the information we will address in A Tip of the Hat From CAP and our Podcasts will include:
- The importance of self-determination and self-knowledge in meeting DRS client employment needs
- The importance of becoming familiar with demand occupations and the local job market
- What is the Individual Plan of Employment (IPE) and how to make it work for the DRS client
Welcome to the Client Assistance Program. Here’s some tips which will help the DRS client be successful in meeting their employment needs.
Self-Assessment on Employment
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are thinking about going to work for the first time or going back to work after experiencing a disability:
- Have you discussed going to work with your family and friends before you decide to go to work?
- Have you discussed going to work with your doctor for any work restrictions?
- Will you need accommodations on the job to return to work?
- Do you know the demand occupations in your locale with information on up-and-coming occupations?
- Do you want to work part time?
- Do you want to work full time?
- Do you know what kind of work you want to do even drilling down to a specific job title?
- Do you know the supports you will need to achieve your employment outcome?
- Do you know what education (if any) you will need to achieve your employment outcome?
- If you get a job, do you have transportation to work?
- Will you need a professional license to achieve your employment outcome?
These are some questions for anyone who is considering employment. The work you do to answer these questions will help you be successful in getting a job.
Client Assistance Program
The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is an advocacy program established by Section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Act)*. Each State and Territory of the United States has a CAP to help individuals with disabilities get the services they need to prepare for, keep or get employment from programs funded under the Act. In Oklahoma CAP is administered through the Oklahoma Office of Disability Concerns, located at P.O. Box 25352 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73125. The purpose of this program is to:
- Advise and inform clients and client applicants of all services and benefits available to them through programs authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Act), as amended;
- Assist and advocate for clients and client applicants in their relationships with projects, programs, and community rehabilitation programs providing services under the Act; and
- Inform individuals with disabilities in Oklahoma, especially individuals with disabilities who have traditionally been unserved or underserved by vocational rehabilitation programs, of the services and benefits available to them under the Act and under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101-12213.
CAP is an advocacy program for applicants and clients of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Centers for Independent Living (CIL) and other programs authorized under the Act. An individual with a disability who is not applying for or receiving services from a program funded under the Act is eligible only for information and referral services.
CAP is not a part of Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) the agency that provides VR service in Oklahoma. There are two organizations in DRS that serve people with disabilities seeking employment. They are:
- The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and
- The Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI).
Both DVR and DVS provide services that help people with disabilities prepare for, keep, or get a job. Some of the services are:
- Evaluations and tests;
- Medical services;
- Counseling and guidance;
- Work training (including college, technical schools, on-the-job training, etc.);
- Assistive technology services and devices;
- Interpreter services (if you have a hearing impairment);
- Orientation and mobility training (if you have a visual disability);
- Supported employment (job coaches and other supports on a job);
- Transportation (to get to services);
- Personal assistance services (on- or off-the-job); and
- Other services to reach a work goal.
A work goal usually is a job in the community with an established business, but can be a job at home or self-employment. If a client’s goal is to work in a regular job in the community then the VR agency can assist in preparing for this goal.
CAP can help a DRS client or applicant better understand the Vocational Rehabilitation system. The program helps settle complaints informally, but it can also help a client or applicant with representation during an administrative review or a mediation or fair hearing. Clients are not required to use the Oklahoma Client Assistance Program to dispute any actions affecting their rehabilitation program or appeal a decision of the Department of Rehabilitation Services staff. Client options also include acting as their own representative, asking a friend or family member to act as their representative or hiring legal counsel at their own expense.
Clients of DRS should receive a CAP brochure notifying them of the client’s appeal rights when they apply for services, when a change is made in the plan of services or when services are delayed or denied.
Applying to CAP for help
In order for CAP to provide assistance you must complete the form listed below. Once you have completed the information you must print, sign and send the form to the address listed. If you need assistance in completing the form please contact us. CAP staff will contact you for any additional information needed to process your case as soon as possible. You are not required to use the Client Assistance Program to dispute any actions affecting your rehabilitation program or appeal a decision of the Department of Rehabilitation Services staff. You may represent yourself, ask a friend or family member to act as your representative or hire legal counsel at your own expense.
PRIVACY STATEMENT: The Client Assistance Program will not condition service on your agreement to authorize disclosure of your health information. CAP may, however, require that you authorize disclosure of your health information if needed to make a determination about your eligibility for benefits from the Department of Rehabilitation Services.
Authorization for Release of Information
If you wish for another person to represent you in addition to yourself, when CAP is your advocate, you may sign a release of information for yourself and sign this second party release of information giving that person’s name.
2nd Party Authorization for Release of Information
Services provided by CAP
- Information about the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and amendments.
- Information about benefits available to clients and applicants through the Vocational Rehabilitation program.
- Mediation between counselors, facilities and clients to resolve problems.
- Assist clients and applicants in pursuing all available remedies to ensure the protection of their rights.
- Educate the public about the CAP program and Vocational Rehabilitation.
- Provide outreach to traditionally unserved or underserved individuals with disabilities.
- Outreach to individuals with disabilities from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
You Should Call CAP If You
- are experiencing an undue delay in the processing of an application or services requested
- have been denied eligibility and do not understand the reason for the denial
- have been denied services to which you feel you are entitled
- have problems with your VR program that you have not been able to resolve with your counselor
- have questions regarding the services and benefits available from Vocational Rehabilitation
- have problems with other agencies or training facilities that are preventing you from reaching your rehabilitation goals.
CAP Business Hours
Monday - Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Prohibited Disability Harassment
Reminder of Responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act: