Office of Clients' Rights Advocacy (OCRA)
Providing free legal information, advice and representation to regional center clients. We provide the clients’ rights advocate for each regional center. To find out more, keep reading.
The Office of Clients' Rights Advocacy (OCRA) is part of Disability Rights California. The California Department of Developmental Services funds OCRA through a contract. OCRA has been providing advocacy services to regional center consumers, their families, and interested community members since 1999. OCRA provides legal services to consumers of all 21 regional centers throughout California. We have a Clients' Rights Advocate (CRA) designated for each regional center catchment area. The CRA can help with legal problems, conduct trainings, and investigate denials of rights.
To contact your OCRA office, call one of OCRA's toll-free numbers:
Northern California 1-800-390-7032 (TTY 877-669-6023)
Southern California 1-866-833-6712 (TTY 877-669-6023)
Or you can call your advocate directly at the number listed on the staff links page.
All families must be prepared for their child to transition from the public school system into the adult world. The goal for any family is to ensure that their child is prepared for the future. For families with children with developmental disabilities it is very important to have the knowledge of what transition to adulthood means and what resources are available to help the child become as independent as possible.
Sean contacted OCRA after he went to pick up his medication prescription and found out he was no longer eligible for Medi-Cal benefits. OCRA assisted Sean in filing an appeal. The appeal stated that Sean had not received proper notice of the Medi-Cal termination and that even if the county determined that Sean was no longer eligible under his current Medi-Cal program, the county failed to review his eligibility for other Medi-Cal programs. OCRA negotiated with the county appeals specialist to show that Sean was eligible for Medi-Cal under the 250% Working Disabled Program.
Chin-Hae received Early Start services from the regional center before age three. When he turned three, his parents received a letter from the regional center telling them that he had aged out of Early Start and was not eligible for services under the Lanterman Act. They did not receive information about their right to appeal, such as the deadline to appeal, where to find advocacy assistance, or the appeal form. OCRA discovered that many other Early Start consumers also did not receive appeal information when they were found not to be eligible for services under the Lanterman Act.
On Saturday June 25, 2016 Scott Barron, Peer Advocate, was joined by regional office Voting Rights Advocate to prepare the Chinese SAGE self-advocacy group for the upcoming presidential election in November. The Chinese SAGE group is a self-advocacy group of young Chinese regional center consumers from across the Los Angeles area. The Vice President of Chinese Sage, Alex White, wrote the following statement: “We have spent time getting to know each other, attending trainings, and social events. We think it is important for Chinese SAGE members to now become good citizens in our community.
Anthony has significant medical needs that require the use of oxygen tanks and catheters for his tracheostomy tube. His durable medical equipment provider began sending incomplete deliveries of his equipment over several months and then suddenly stopped delivering any equipment. Anthony did not receive any notice that the delivery of the equipment would stop. OCRA advised Anthony to contact Medicare, his medical insurance, and ask them to assign a new durable medical equipment provider. Anthony’s parent contacted Medicare and immediately transferred the services to the new provider.
Joe contacted OCRA when he received an overpayment notice that said he owes Social Security more than $45,000. Although Joe has been a regional center consumer for most of his life, Social Security determined that his disability had ended because he earned too much money in certain months. Because Social Security had already paid him for all of those months, he was overpaid $45,000 in SSDI benefits. OCRA assisted Joe in completing forms to show that he had subsidies in his past employment that should have been considered when determining the total amount of his earnings.
For several months, Dustin experienced resistance from his Section 8 voucher landlord in making reasonable modifications to his apartment so he could continue to live safely and independently. OCRA sent Dustin’s landlord a demand letter explaining his disability and new health issues. The letter clarified how Dustin’s health concerns require railings to be installed at his apartment’s front steps and grab bars added to the inside of his shower.
Carl repeatedly received bills for a medical service which he believed his medical insurance should have paid. Carl has both Medicare and Medi-Cal. OCRA contacted the medical provider to make sure they had Carl’s correct insurance information and had properly billed. OCRA also told the provider that state and federal law prevents them from “balance billing” because it accepted Carl as a Medi-Cal beneficiary when it provided the medical treatment to him. OCRA discovered that the medical provider simply had the wrong address for Medicare and Medi-Cal.
After being discharged from the hospital, Julie could not attend school because her immune system was compromised and she had extensive medical needs. Once her health stabilized, her parents notified Julie’s school that she was ready for educational services in her home. The school district demanded that Julie return to the public school setting, threatening truancy action against Julie’s parents if she didn’t return. OCRA attended an IEP meeting to obtain educational supports and services in the home.
Ana’s IHSS social worker told her they were terminating her IHSS benefits completely, but did not send her a written notice of action. Ana’s IHSS provider continued to serve her, but had not been paid from July 2015 to December 2015, despite numerous calls and attempts to contact the county about the issue. OCRA agreed to assist Ana by using the advocate inquiry complaint process. OCRA sent the inquiry, noting the verbal IHSS termination with no written notice of action and no payments to the provider, and requested review of Ana’s case.