Your Bridge To Disability Services
YOU CAN COUNT ON
THE CLIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CAP) TO HELP YOU:
Access pre-employment transition services
Obtain the services you need to pursue a meaningful career and live independently
Understand how the Office Of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and Centers for Independent Living (CIL) provide these services
Know your rights and responsibilities under these programs, and Title 1 of the ADA
Navigate The OVR program to achieve a successful employment outcome
Resolve any concerns you may have with OVR or CIL
Attorney Steve Pennington has been serving as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program since 1986. He has extensive experience in the development and implementation of training for Client Assistance Programs and has served on the NAPAS CAP Training Advisory Committee and the NATCAP CAP Training Advisory Committee. Mr. Pennington is an active lecturer and regularly conducts training seminars for advocacy programs on disability issues. He has written many articles relating to employment law and is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Mr. Pennington is an active member of the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations and serves on various committees concerned with the delivery of legal services to persons with disabilities. He is also a member of the Plaintiffs Employment Panel for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Pennington graduated from Temple University in 1979 and is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania.
Stephen S. Pennington, Esq.
Francella Porter works for the Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program as an Administrative Assistant.She maintains the client files and provides all individuals that seek CAP services with the information that they need to get connected to CAP services.
Margaret Passio-McKenna is an Senior Advocate for the Client Assistance Program. Ms. McKenna is a 1991 graduate of the Temple University School of Law. She was admitted to the practice of law in 1992. Ms. McKenna has an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and is working toward a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a member of the National Who’s Who and the National Honor Society. In addition to her work as an attorney/advocate, Ms. McKenna tutors elementary-aged children.
Lannette brings over 15 years of experience in social work and case management. She was also employed as an elementary school teacher for the School District of Philadelphia. In addition to her professional experience, Mrs. Suarez has a Master’s degree in Education from Lincoln University and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University.
Lannette D. Suarez
CAP is an advocacy program for people with disabilities administered by the Center for Disability Law & Policy.
CAP helps people who are seeking services from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Blindness and Visual Services, Centers for Independent Living and other programs funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
CAP help is provided to you at no charge, regardless of income.
The Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program is dedicated to ensuring that the rehabilitation system in Pennsylvania is open and responsive to your needs.
CAP is Independent from OVR and Centers for Independent Living
CAP will ADVISE,INFORM,ASSIST and ADVOCATE on behalf of the individual needs of our clients!
At CAP we strive to educate customers of Vocational Rehabilitation and Centers for Independent Living about the importance of self advocacy. CAP wants to prepare each individual to enter these systems with an understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as the role the individual plays while seeking services needed to live independently and find community integrated employment. Click the links below to find a detail of rights and responsibilities in the rehabilitation handbook as well as a step by step guide to VR services prepared by CAP.
OVR Appeal Process
The following is a summary of the steps described in the OVR Appeal Process to seek review of any determination made by OVR/BBVS personnel that affects the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to you. It is not intended to constitute legal advice regarding your appeal. It is recommended that you review OVR’s Due Process Procedures Policy, which is included below for your review.
1. To request review, you must write a letter to OVR that:
Describes the determination with which you are dissatisfied.
Includes the date, if know, when the determination was made.
Identifies who made the determination, and
State what you want or what action will satisfy you.
2. Send the letter to:
If you are appealing an OVR decision: If you are appealing a BBVS decision:
Director, Bureau of Program Operations Director, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
1521 N. 6th Street 1521 N. 6th Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102 Harrisburg, PA 17102
3. It is not required, but recommended that the letter be sent registered mail, return receipt requested to confirm OVR’s receipt.
4.If you were notified in writing of the Appeal Process, including the availability of the Client Assistance Program, when you applied for services, at the time an Individualized Plan of Employment was developed with you, or upon reduction, suspension or cessation of services, your appeal must be postmarked within thirty(30) calendar days of the determination with which you are dissatisfied. Failure to file a timely appeal under these circumstances may result it being dismissed.
5.Once OVR or BBVS receive’s your letter, you may be given the option of having an informal administrative review of your case or mediation prior to an impartial due process hearing is held. If you receive a green post card to select a pre-hearing option, it is important respond to OVR as directed.
6.You have the right to be represented during the appeal process. This includes a family member, friend, advocate, Client Assistance Program or an attorney. Designation of a representative must be made in writing to OVR. You also have the right to review and reproduce your case record prior to or during the appeal process.
7.It is also important to know that except under very limited circumstances, OVR cannot suspend, reduce or terminate your services during the appeal process.
8.The attached OVR Appeals policy sets out in detail the steps you need to follow to file an appeal. It also includes a description of the different levels of the appeal process, how each is conducted and your rights.
9.If you have any questions regarding the appeal process, you may contact the Client Assistance Program at 1-888-745-2357, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at CAP, 1515 Market St., Ste. 1300, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
Frequently Asked Questions
Extremely! It is essential for successful vocational rehabilitation. It is helpful to remember an OVR counselor has on average about 150-160 clients. It is very helpful for each and every client to keep in contact with their counselor as to their progress.
How important is it for a client to maintain communication with his/her counselor?
This is a crucial step in the VR process. In this information age, there are a lot of options for investigating about your goal. The internet can provide some good information. A few helpful websites are: bls.gov, Bureau of Labor Statistics; Dictionary of Occupation Titles, dot; Occupational Outlook Handbook, ooh; and o’net. These websites will provide specific information on the choice of goal such as the job tasks, education required, and job potential. Also, it is helpful if the client takes some time to do a Labor Market Survey, which basically entails contacting potential employers in the client’s chosen field and ask them some specifics about the job and the labor market potential.
It is sometimes difficult for clients to choose a specific realistic vocational goal, which must be consistent with the client’s abilities and capabilities, and it must be available in today’s labor market. What are some tips on researching information on a client’s goal, training required, job prospects, etc. so a client can make more of an informed choice?
What are some of the best ways for clients to maintain contact with their counselor?
It cannot be emphasized enough how important client/counselor contact is to the VR process. The method or style of contact is not as important as the actual act of communication. Any method that is comfortable, clear, consistent, and convenient for the client is good:
Phone (specify specific times of availability so phone tag and ongoing voicemail is not as frustrating), a phone appointment can even be arranged (I will be available to speak to you on this date/time, is this convenient for you, counselor.
Schedule a face-to-face meeting for more detailed discussion as needed.
And, of course, contact by e-mail.
Does a client need to be working before he/she receives any physical/ mental restoration and/or assistive technology?
No, however, the First Step in receiving cost services is the development of their Individualized Plan for Employment, IPE. The client and counselor need to develop an IPE which specifies an agreed upon realistic vocational goal and details the services required for the client to achieve their goal. If a hearing aid, wheelchair, CCTV, etc. are necessary to allow the client to do his/her job search or be successful in their needed schooling, these types of services can be provided before the client actually finds a job.
For any inquiries, questions or commendations, please call: (888) 745-2357 or fill out the following form
CAP is located at:
101 Greenwood Ave.
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Tel: (215) 557-7112
Toll Free: (888)745-2357