Chapter 4: Consumer Rights

Revision 19-1, Effective March 1, 2019

4.1 Complaint Process

4.1.1 Filing a Complaint with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission

An individual, consumer or consumer’s representative, subcontractor or organization may file a complaint with HHSC alleging that a requirement of independent living services was violated. A complaint may be filed directly with the HHSC Independent Living Program manager or HHSC Office of the Ombudsman without having been filed with the service provider.

A complaint may be filed by contacting the HHSC Office of the Ombudsman by:

  • mail: Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, MC H-700; P.O. Box 13247, Austin, TX 78711-3247;
  • phone: 877-787-8999 or Relay Texas for people with a hearing or speech disability: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2989;
  • fax: 888-780-8099; or
  • online: HHSC’s Ombudsman page.

A complaint may also be filed by contacting the Independent Living Program manager’s office by:

More information regarding the complaint process may be obtained by calling the Office of the Ombudsman at 877-787-8999 or Relay Texas for people with a hearing or speech disability: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2989.

4.1.2 Filing a Complaint with the Client Assistance Program (CAP)

The Client Assistance Program (CAP) is federally funded and mandated under the Act to provide information, assistance, and advocacy for people with disabilities who are seeking or receiving services from programs, including the Independent Living Services Program. CAP services can include:

  • informing the consumer of his or her rights;
  • providing information about services and benefits of the program;
  • advocating for consumers in his or her relationship with the program;
  • assisting the consumer in understanding and using the appeals process;
  • assisting the consumer and systemic advocacy in relation to the program that may include policy issues and changes; and
  • resolving issues at the lowest level possible.

The CAP is implemented by Disability Rights Texas (DRTx), a legal services organization whose mission is to protect the human, service, and legal rights of persons with disabilities in Texas.

DRTx advocates are not employees of any state agency. There are no fees for CAP services, which are provided by advocates and attorneys when necessary. Services are confidential.

Service providers must use accessible formats to notify individuals with disabilities who are prospective or current consumers about

  • the availability of the CAP;
  • the purposes of the services provided under the CAP; and
  • how to contact the CAP.

Service providers should notify consumers of the CAP at application, the development of the independent living plan, and anytime services are reduced, suspended or terminated.

A consumer or the consumer’s representative may file a complaint with DRTx alleging that a requirement of independent living services was violated. The complaint need not be filed with the service provider.

A complaint may be filed by:

  • phone: 800-252-9108; or
  • videophone: 866-362-2851.

More information about the complaint process is available by calling DRTx at 800-252-9108 or videophone at 866-362-2851.

4.1.3 Complaint Investigation

Service providers are required to participate in the complaint investigation process initiated with the HHSC Independent Living Program manager, HHSC Office of the Ombudsman or Client Assistance Program. This includes responding to all requests for information necessary to investigate allegations that a requirement of independent living services was violated. The service provider must ensure that attempts are being made to resolve the complaint. Service provider responses to complaints must be received, in their entirety, within deadlines provided by the complaint investigator.