Public Assistance Demand Remains Strong

Our agency is doing its best to keep up with record demand in our public assistance programs. One in six in this county is now on food assistance or Medicaid and that means 60,000 people a month visit our lobby and 13,000 calls a week come into our call center.

Please be assured we are doing everything we can to process cases in a timely manner. Much of this is due to yearly re-certifications kicking in in April. Ultimately, this will be a good change, but we knew we would be swamped once the first cycle hit. In March, we needed to schedule 264 reapplications a day to ensure we were able to see all the customers who were due to recertify that month. In April, that number went up to 448 a day. That’s a 70% increase. In July, we are now recertifying more than 800 people a day.

Thing should get better. The state is moving forward with increased Internet technology. We are integrating more technology here, as well as streamlining our processes. We are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to this problem. And, hopefully, the economy should improve.

Please encourage those who do business with us to take advantage of the Internet, phone, drop boxes in our lobbies and other methods of communication that keep them from waiting in long lobby lines. Let them know they can fax in verification documents from their local library branch.

Thank you for your patience.

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9 Responses

  1. A. Miller,

    Hamilton County Job and Family Services does not set the rules around how much a person can receive in cash assistance, food assistance and other types of public assistance. These are standard levels set by the federal government, which runs the programs. The amounts are based on a person’s income at the time, or before, they apply. We only follow the guidelines, as we are required to do by law. If your situation has changed, I encourage you to apply again.

    Contrary to your statement, many of the people we provide assistance to are currently working or have a work history. Especially now, witht he economy the way it has been, people who have lost their jobs or taken jobs making less money have turned to us for help.

  2. I have applied for cash assistance May 6, 2011, do to my job ended in May and all I got a decrease in my stamps, I guess I have to lazy and worhtless to get so help, after all have been paying my since graduated from high school “87” can I get some of my money back, you given it to people that has not paid taxes at all.

  3. I see that I am not alone in this situation when it comes to re-certification time. I, myself received an appt. letter giving me a time as to when hcjfs would contact me. I sat home and missed 4 hours of work to wait on this call so that I would not be in this situation that I’m in now…I never received a call and after being on hold for over an hour I finally got through just to be told they are running a day behind…So i asked the lady who took my call could she specify a time and date as to when i would be contacted, and she said no….So I stated to her “I guess she will call whenever, even if I’m at work?” I then informed her that If my worker decides to call during my scheduled shift hours that I would not be able to answer my phone. That is grounds for termination….So what happened???? She calls days later at 5:58pm while I’m at work and of course I missed the call!!! So after a week I finally get a hold of someone again and I’m told the same thing…still no call yet….I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to contact anybody to get my case reviewed and after 20 min I get hung up on. Not to mention you cant get through on the internet….Look I understand their trying to better the system and the demand that follows is critical but the fact remains at the end of the day we are the ones who will suffer for the simple fact that after a certain amount of time goes by our case will be closed because of their negligence. So therefore we have to start all over and re-apply and have to wait an additional 30 days plus for our benefits. I think its very unfair and although I’m doing my best to be patient, its very hard to do that when my children are hungry and I do not make enough at my employment nor do I work enough hours to provide. So the little money I do make at my job I have to by food and now all my utilities and ect. will be shut off. I followed directions and done everything by the book as follows but when your employed you can not sit at home waiting on a call… I mean aren’t the workers the ones stressing about all of us getting employed to better ourselves, but yet we are suppose to get fired by calling off or answering our phones at work??? I apologize but I’m beyond furious, so therefore I did like the blogger stated above and I did contact the news about the problem at hand. not that it will do any justice but I’m concerned about what the public that receives assistance will do just to feed their children…Churches are most likely running bare because of this problem…I think it is sad…..

  4. I don’t understand at all the method by which you work. My wife has a part-time job, 10 hours a week, and I am unemployed, receiving unemployment, but I have been getting some temporary project work. Every time I get an assignment I notify HCJFS, and my benefits go down IMMEDIATELY. As soon as my assignment ends I again notify HCJFS, then the office has 10 days to process the fax, and the caseworker has 30 days to react to the fax. That’s 40 DAYS to get our benefits back. This past time we had a problem, after a phone interview, my wife was told to submit an employment verification. She called her work to ask if they had faxed it, and they did, then I called HCJFS to see if it had been received, and was told it was. The problem began when we didn’t get our food stamps in July. I called HCJFS to ask why and was told that my wife’s paperwork was NOT received. ??? Now we didn’t get food stamps for August, AND our Medicaid was cancelled August 1st. I was told that the caseworker had 10 days from date the fax was received, July 20th. After the 10 days were up, I expected to get my benefits back. THEN I was told by someone that it’s 10 days AFTER THE CASEWORKER gets it, which was July 29th, THEN she has 30 DAYS after that to restore our benefits. At no time would the person I talked to today admit that it could have been the office’s fault for losing the fax and help us immediately. Instead, I was told that mine was not the only family in dire straits, and there were families ahead of me that had submitted their paperwork on time. So I guess we’ll go 3 MONTHS without benefits. How do we get food AND pay our bills? My wife and I both have prescriptions that we need daily. How do we buy them at full price? How can we get this resolved NOW? We are considering calling the TV news consumer reporters, and/or the Ohio Attorney General’s office for satisfaction

  5. To all who have left comments, I appreciate the feedback and I apologize for your problems with customer service. As I say above, we are quite overwhelmed now. But that is no excuse for being rude. I have passed on your concerns to the right people and hopefully we can rectify your problems within a few days. I appreciate your patience. We will continue to address customer service issues with staff.

    Sincerely,
    Moira

  6. I am completely frustrated with HCJFS. My case worker called me and I missed her call , said she would call back the following monday for my phone interview. I never recieved that call and have spent 6 hours plus over the past week on the phone trying to get my interview or at least speak with someone. Also have attempted everyday to get an online technician and it is always unavailable. All of my benefits have been suspended and my kids need their shots!

  7. I’d like to talk to you about the problems that you have in serving the public efficiently. I realize that the need is great now, but, everytime my husband looses his job, we loose all of our services often w/o notice. Our particular case worker does not return calls and always takes as long or longer than she is allowed to remedy her mistakes, which are frequent. We have been either ignored or spoken down to, rather nastily at times. Shauntel’s comment, above is putting it mildly!

  8. I understand the situation however in my situation this has been unfortunate. I did utilize the public library to fax documents in after my documents were lost(misplaced ) by the agency after I physically went into the building hand delivered and received a stamped receipt which I made another trip down to show the stamped receipt and was made to faxed my info back in. Then had a receipt from the public library and called my worker 3x to be sure docs were received so my benefits would not be terminated. My worker did not return my call. As of 7/31 our benefits were terminated only to find on 8/1 (food and medical) I was told they did not have the library fax. on 8/1 refaxed including the library confirmation from 7/19. Now I am told it could take an addition 10 more days to review. We now have no medical benefits nor food benefits. One of my daughters has asthma. Can not fill her medications. I feel very intimidated when I call. Over and Over I am just being told how overworked the agency is and I understand.
    Very frustrated but trying very hard to be patient

  9. Thank you for acknowledging what is going on at Job and family services. However, I like to suggest customer service training for some of the specialists. Thanks again.

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