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1 Public Benefits Revisited: Expanding Access to TANF & SNAP October 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Public Benefits Revisited: Expanding Access to TANF & SNAP October 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Public Benefits Revisited: Expanding Access to TANF & SNAP October 2011

2 What Prevents Needy Persons from Seeking and Getting TANF and/or SNAP? They don’t know about the benefits They don’t think they are eligible Hard (impossible?) to contact caseworker to pursue application They think TANF or SNAP amount isn’t worth the effort Caseworkers suggest that TANF application will delay SNAP/medical assistance 2

3 Barriers to getting TANF/SNAP Cont’d Too Hard to apply – Hard to apply in person No transportation and offices too far away Not able to wait in line Are told they are probably not eligible – Hard to apply on line Difficult to understand application Limited or no access to computer or not familiar with computers Concerned about giving confidential info online – Can’t get to DHS for an application interview – Can’t get required verifications 3

4 Barriers to Legal Services Representation of Clients Who have TANF/SNAP Issues Applicants denied benefits aren’t aware that legal aid representation might be available Legal aid intake processes discourage them from pursuing legal aid Inadequate legal aid funding/staffing – Strategies to address? – How to attract funders? 4

5 What legal services advocates can do to identify and reach more clients with public benefits issues Make Intake Access Easier Help clients presenting other issues apply for SNAP/TANF (use the SNAP calculators, for e.g.) Develop special projects to assist TANF/SNAP applicants Work with community partners – Medical-legal partnerships – Outreach and training of social service providers 5

6 Particular Strategies LOLLAF medical legal partnerships LAFMC project PSLS DHS benefits outreach and access Project DHS Framework project—potential to reduce barriers Some common threads? – Minimize burden on DHS – Maximize community partnership 6

7 Other Strategies Try to minimize burden on DHS staff—help them help client Develop contacts with supervisors and key caseworkers Get their direct line telephone numbers and their e-mail addresses Develop good working relationship so they don’t dread calling you or e-mailing you Develop contacts with regional supervisors File Appeals and represent clients in appeals 7

8 Other Non-Traditional Public Benefits that are Underutilized Veterans Benefits for Dependants Crime Victims Compensation General Assistance 8

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