Know your rights

The WSRC is committed to equity and justice.  The council is interested in the individual experiences of DVR customers.  Our role is to listen to individual stories, to identify systemic issues that need to be addressed to increase the quality and availability of DVR services in the State of Washington.  The council does not assist in the resolution of individual case issues.  However, there are resources for DVR customers who have encountered difficulty during the vocational rehabilitation process, if you have experienced a conflict or disagree with a decision made by DVR there are two key resources to assist you, the Client Assistance Program and the Fair Hearings Process. 


The Client Assistance Program

Title I Section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act establishes the Client Assistance Program (CAP).  CAP is an independent entity from DVR created specifically to support DVR customers in resolving individual case issues.  Any DVR customer has the right to call a representative of CAP at any time in the VR process.  Seeking information from CAP, learning about their services, or seeking their assistance regarding your case is not adversarial, it is your right. Contact information for CAP can be found on their website. 

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The Fair Hearings Process

A fair hearing is a review process outlined under the Administrative Procedure Act, that is conducted by an administrative law judge who works for the Office of Administrative Hearings.  During a fair hearing, both you and DVR may present information, witnesses, and/or documents to support your position.  You may ask someone to represent you, such as an attorney, a friend, a relative, a representative from the Client Assistance Program, or someone else you choose.  The administrative law judge makes a decision after hearing all of the information presented; reviewing any documents submitted, and reviewing relevant laws and regulations.

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How do I request a fair hearing?

To ask for a fair hearing, send a written request to the Office of Administrative Hearings. You must include the following information in your written request:

  1. Your name, address, and telephone number
  2. The name of the DSHS program that the fair hearing involves (such as DVR)
  3. A written statement describing the decision and the reasons you disagree; and
  4. Any other information or documents that relate to the matter.
  5. You must submit your request for a fair hearing within 45 days of the date the VR counselor makes the decision with which you disagree.
  6. You may ask any DVR employee for instructions or assistance to submit a request for a fair hearing.   
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After I submit a request for a fair hearing, when is it held?

The Office of Administrative Hearings holds a fair hearing within 60 days of receipt of your written request for a hearing, unless you or DVR ask for a later hearing date and the Office of Administrative Hearings determines there is a reasonable cause for the delay. 

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What is a pre-hearing meeting?

After you submit a request for a fair hearing, DVR offers you a pre-hearing meeting.  The pre-hearing meeting can be conducted in person, by telephone, or by another method agreeable to all parties. 
The purpose of the pre-hearing meeting is to:

  1. Clarify the decision with which you disagree;
  2. Exchange copies of laws, rules or other information to be presented in the fair hearing;
  3. Explain how the fair hearing is conducted; and
  4. Settle the disagreement, if possible.

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Do I receive a written fair hearing decision?

The Office of Administrative Hearings sends you a written report of the findings and decision within 30 days of the fair hearing.

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Is the fair hearing decision final?

The Office of Administrative Hearings decision is final and DVR must implement the decision.
If you do not agree with the Office of Administrative Hearings decision, you may pursue civil action through superior court to review that decision.

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Can DVR suspend, reduce or terminate my services if I request a fair hearing?

DVR may not suspend, reduce, or terminate agreed-upon services if you have requested a fair hearing, unless DVR provides evidence that you provided false information, committed fraud or other criminal acts involving VR services.

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