To offer additional means of communication with Deaf and hard of hearing clients, the Department offers Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) services. VRI is an auxiliary aid to communicate with Deaf and hard of hearing individuals using remote American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter services. The following TAOs are equipped to provide VRI as an auxiliary aid for communicating with Deaf and hard of hearing walk-in clients who are proficient using ASL:
Springfield Center, and
No applicant or client shall be turned away when seeking assistance at a TAO that does not serve the client’s city or town.
Deaf and hard of hearing clients seeking ASL remote services at a TAO equipped with VRI must be referred to a VRI Liaison to be served as soon as possible. A VRI Liaison may be a TAO manager, Client Assistance Coordinator (CAC) or a Reception Coordinator (RC). When the TAO does not serve the client’s catchment area, the VRI Liaison will enter information into BEACON. For TAFDC and EAEDC cases, a cash case manager must be present to guide the conversation.
VRI equipment consists of two PCs, a video camera and speakers installed in a designated space in each of the five TAOs. Microphones are included within each speaker. This equipment allows a remote ASL interpreter to be accessed using a desktop application on the PC with a camera. The remote interpreter signs what is being said by the DTA staff person for the client and translates the client’s questions and responses into spoken English for the DTA staff person. The second PC is provided for BEACON data entry.
Not all Deaf and hard of hearing clients use ASL to communicate. VRI cannot accommodate clients who are not proficient using ASL. Clients who are not ASL proficient may require alternate accommodation(s) for an appointment scheduled at the TAO that serves their city or town.
The VRI Liaison sits in front of one of the speakers, near to the camera and in front of the PC with BEACON access.
The client sits in front of the screen with the camera. The VRI Liaison makes arrangements for the services of the remote interpreter using the desktop application.
The VRI liaison will:
Explain options for the client to conduct cash/SNAP interviews by either using VRI or scheduling an appointment for a later date with a DTA-provided (via MCDHH) or client-identified adult interpreter(s) at the TAO that serves their city or town. VRI Liaisons or case managers are to complete the Accommodation/ Special Assistance workflow and enter accommodation information into the Screening page in BEACON.
It can take two to three weeks to secure translation services from MCDHH (ASL, Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI), Oral Interpreter/Transliterator and remote Communications Access Realtime Interpreting (CART)). This must be explained to the client along with case processing deadlines and estimated duration of the VRI intake interview(s) so they can make a fully informed decision for conducting application interviews. See Securing MCDHH Services for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Clients.
It is important to recognize application and recertification timelines for each DTA program. DTA staff must take immediate action to initiate the case because translation services are often booked two to three weeks in advance. For SNAP applicants, make sure the process for expedited benefits is met and for TAFDC/EAEDC clients, that the process for immediate needs, adhered to. See:
If the client chooses to use VRI for assistance, complete the application interview.
If the client chooses not to use VRI, complete the RFA and AU Composition Results page and schedule an appointment with the client and arrange for their preferred auxiliary aid. Screen for immediate needs and expedited SNAP benefits. See Screen for Immediate Needs and Expedited Benefits Issue an EBT card if the applicant’s identity has been verified.
If the client is applying for TAFDC or EAEDC and they live outside the TAO’s catchment area, ask whether they prefer to keep their case at the VRI-equipped TAO or have the case transferred to the TAO that services their catchment area. If the client prefers to have the case transferred to their catchment area, email the CACs and the management team in the TAO that serves the client’s city or town to alert them with “SECURE” in the email subject line and the client information in the body of the email. If you have scheduled an appointment to finish the interview, provide them with the details of the appointment and the scheduled accommodation once all case actions have been completed
Enter any verifications and/or case maintenance updates provided by the client and complete any pending or necessary case maintenance activities.
Remove any sanction as an administrative/system error when the client claims that their disability directly caused the sanction and there is no documentation that DTA provided the client’s preferred auxiliary aid enabling them to address the issue that caused the sanction.
Example: Melinda Smith received a sanction-related notice. Previously, Melinda requested and was approved for an accommodation from the Department to provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter service on-site. Accompanied by their own interpreter, they reports that the reason for their non-compliance is that the Department failed to provide an ASL interpreter at their last interview to cure the sanction. You must check the Accommodation/Special Assistance Disposition page to make sure that the client’s requested accommodation is listed. Next, check the narrative to see if the accommodation was provided at the last interview. If the accommodation for an ASL interpreter is listed and no interpreter was provided remove the sanction as an administrative/system error. See Removing Sanctions.
When a client claims that their disability directly caused the case to close, or a reduction in benefits, and there is no documentation that DTA provided the client’s preferred auxiliary aid enabling them to address the issue that caused the closure or reduction of benefits, you must help the client with a new application or reinstatement and open the case.
If a case was denied due to the inability to arrange an appointment using an auxiliary aid in a timely manner, you must open the case back to the original date of application.
Summarize for the client all actions taken, any needed documentation and scheduled appointments.
Once all case actions have been completed, enter a detailed narrative to record the interaction with the client. Annotate all actions taken, including the names of any DTA staff present during the VRI session, any scheduled future appointments with requested accommodation(s), and necessary follow-up. You must also record the visit using the VRI Log on the desktop. Enter the date of the visit, the name of the VRI Liaison, the case manager if applicable, and the duration of the VRI session.
Protocols for Working with Walk-in Clients who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
VRI Options for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clients
Securing MCDHH Services for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Clients
Cash Client Applies at a TAO That Does Not Serve Their Catchment Area
Screen for Immediate Needs
TAFDC Application Timeframes
EAEDC Application Timeframes
SNAP Application Processing
The Application Interview (SNAP)
ADA Policy and Procedures