Appeal denied by Commissioner on December 19, 2007
Keyword: subtest score, overstated abilities, adaptive functioning level
Hearing Officer: Deirdre Rosenberg
Counsel present for Appellant: No
Counsel present for DMR: John C. Greenty Jr.
Appellant present: Yes
Hearing Officer Decision on December 18, 2007
The appellant had had only one previous cognitive evaluation, which was done in 1967 when she was approximately 15 years old. Using the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, her full scale IQ was reported as 57 at that time, and her testing behaviors were positive: "initiates activity," "quick to respond," "persistent," "eager to continue," "needs minimum of commendation" were all marked.
The ABAS II was administered on December 13, 2005. According to the Department's regulations, an applicant for DMR Adult Services must have subtest scores of 3 or below in three or more of the seven adaptive skill areas. The appellant received an 84 on the General Adaptive Composite, which is in the below-average range. The scores were based on the information she provided. However, she did not have any subtest scores of 3 or below. The second ABAS II was administered on April 12, 2007. She provided the information used to ascertain her adaptive skill levels. She received above 3 on all subtest scores.
The appellant's aunt and daughter attended the fair hearing. They contended that the appellant had overstated her abilities and therefore the test scores were not accurate. Thus, the hearing officer recalculated the second ABAS, using the information provided by appellant's relatives and her own observation of the appellant. The result was enough to meet the DMR standards regarding adaptive skills. There was no dispute that she met the standard of mental retardation IQ score of 70 to 75 or below. However, the applicant's adaptive functioning levels did not meet the standard. Therefore, the hearing officer concluded that based on all the evidence, the appellant had failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that she met the DMR eligibility criteria.
[Applicant appealed this decision to Superior Court on the basis that the hearing officer's order was not supported by substantial evidence and was based upon errors of law, i.e., the recalculation of the ABAS score. DMR agreed to reevaluate the applicant using an independent psychologist. The applicant was then found eligible for DMR services.]