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Recommendations sent to anti-poverty task force

For me, one of the best parts about working in the social services field is that when times are tough, area community providers rally together to help Hamilton County citizens.

Last week, I joined individuals from 60 area social service providers, plus private citizens and representatives from charitable organizations, to discuss recommendations to send to Gov. Strickland for his anti-poverty task force. The governor asked the task force to develop a short-term and long-term vision that addresses the growing problem of poverty in Ohio; the task force wanted recommendations from 22 Ohio communities, including Hamilton County.

A lot of information was shared during the meeting, but the main topics were jobs and education. The group recommended the creation of meaningful jobs and improvements in job training and education in order to overcome poverty in Ohio.

The economic situation in Hamilton County and Ohio has been difficult for everyone, but I am hopeful that with so many key players stepping up, the task force will be able to develop and execute a plan that reduces the amount of Ohioans living at or below the poverty level.

You – the citizens of Hamilton County – are my biggest concern. I want you to be successful in the job field of your choice. I want you to receive the training necessary to be able to choose the right job for you. I want your children to have access to an excellent education so they can grow up and be whatever they want to be.

The state’s anti-poverty task force is a good step in the right direction, but you can help us, too. If you have ideas of how the agency and area community providers can help fight poverty and work towards the goal of self-sufficiency for clients, please send me a comment below.


4 Responses

  1. Thank you for your feedback, Sheri. For the most part, if you are receiving those benefits, you can re-certify for all at the same time. There are different forms to be filled out, but you can re-certify for all at the same time by keeping your appointment with our agency and filling out the appropriate paperwork.

    The confusion on this is probably related to each program having different requirements for re-certification. You can re-certify through the mail for some types of aid, but must visit our office for an interview to re-certify for others. So, when citizens are contacted through the mail about re-certifying for one type of aid, they do so and are then frustrated when they have to visit our office for re-certification on another type of aid. But, we have to follow rules and this is how it must be handled. Everyone has the option of visiting our office and re-certifying for everything at the same time.

    Admittedly, there are other problems with communication on our end, and clients might be sent the wrong applications or duplicates. They might also receive them too late for their re-certification. But, by and large, I think there is confusion about the requirements on re-certification.

    It definitely is our goal to ensure eligibility determination for “all” programs is done at the same time.

  2. I would help both clients and JFS staff if there would be one application/reapplication form and process for all major programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps, Medicare Savings Programs, etc. I work in an apartment building for senior and disabled adults and so many times they get a notice to reapply for Medicaid , then a month or so later, a notice to reapply for food stamps and then a form to reapply for their QMB or SLMB benefits. This makes no sense. They should be able to fill out one 7200 once a year, have one FTF, and have that take care of all the programs at the same time. I was told during one of the online chats that this was something you were working on. Has there been any progress on this? Thanks!

  3. Thanks, Annie. We are doing our best to make things easier for customers. We have 55,000 people who come through our front doors each month. This is always going to be a challenge.

    It is only Healthy Start applications that come without interview requirements. If someone applies for both Medicaid and Food Stamps, it is one application and handled as one.

    We are working on a formal phone interview process that we hope to kick off later this year. And we are looking at new software that might help us with scheduling and moving people through the process quicker.

  4. One thing that would be helpful for folks who are applying for Medicaid and Food Stamps simultaneously – Since the Medicaid part does not require a face to face interview, if all the paperwork is complete, start processing it right away instead of waiting for the client to come in for their food stamp face to face interview. Also, most clients are not aware that they can request appointment times or telephone interviews. This is especially helpful for people who do work and cannot come down to your office during the week.

    You’ve made tremendous strides in allowing people to go to libraries to have their documents faxed to you. That is great. Keep working on ways like this to streamline the process.

    We still get way too many comments from patients who are eligible for Medicaid but refuse to apply because of poor customer service and rude staff. As a social worker, I know what a challenging job your staff has. Please train your staff to go the extra mile and follow-through with things instead of putting it off to another department or another staff person. If there is any way I can help as a volunteer to work with staff on customer service skills, I’m willing to help.

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