Benefit Programs Specialist I/II (Halifax)
Dept of Social Services - Local - Halifax, VA

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This position is responsible for the determination and re-determination of eligibility of individuals and families for financial assistance, food stamps, medical assistance, child care, and for other social services' benefit programs. The work is performed within established policies, procedures and guidelines, but certain aspects of eligibility determination require independent judgment, especially as related to evaluation of social factors influencing eligibility. Employees seek supervisory help for difficult or unusual situations only.
Interviews persons for assistance, obtains necessary information, and re-determines their continuing eligibility;
Explains nature of temporary assistance benefit programs and determines reasons and need for assistance; Processes applications for financial assistance and diversion; determines eligibility for assistance and benefit levels using automated systems and manual methods; Interprets policies and procedures applicable to the various programs; Monitors all assigned ongoing cases for changes in recipient circumstances, and implements changes to appropriately reflect benefit level as mandated by Federal, State, or Local laws and policies; Evaluates employability status of clients and explores potential sources of income; explains client responsibilities, rights and program availability; Refers clients to service worker as the result of overall assessment of situation; prepares reports and maintains client records;
Identifies possible fraud and makes appropriate referrals; evaluates consistency and completeness of data secured, and where indicated substantiates its accuracy; Explains the programs and the rights and responsibilities of applicants and recipients; Explores other possible sources of income;
Computes assistance plans; Determines the need for and amount of allowances for special circumstance items such as household equipment; Identifies clearly discernible social problems and makes referrals to Social Workers; and Gives applicants or recipients information about other agencies where they may go for services they seek and are able to utilize without explanation or supportive services.

Minimum Qualifications
Working knowledge of: basic human behavior; financial assistance programs sufficient to determine/re-determine eligibility for benefits; eligibility requirements for social service assistance as outlined by State, Local and Federal guidelines, regulations and policies; mathematics to calculate percentages, formulas and averages to solve mathematical problems; and interviewing techniques such as data collection and investigation. Skill in operating a personal computer and the associated office and agency software. Demonstrated ability to: communicate effectively both orally and in writing with broad spectrum of individuals to include, but not limited to, customers, employers, courts, and medical professionals in person and on the phone; interview, gather information, re-evaluate each client's situation, and make referrals; determine a client's ownership share in situations; make mathematical computations; analyze information and determine from a variety of sources missing information and gaps; apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written or oral form; use various types of automated technology to establish and maintain case records, access data such as estates, retirement accounts, and real estate, reports, and manipulate data; maintain professional ethics related to confidentiality; exercise sound judgment, discretion, tact and resourcefulness in solving problems and drawing logical conclusions; and establish and maintain effective working relationships with applicants and recipients, other public and private agencies, associates, and the public in a positive and tactful manner under sometimes stressful situations.

Preferred Qualifications
High school diploma supplemented with additional training and related work experience OR any equivalent combination of training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities. Experience in benefit programs, use of computer software and hardware.

Special Requirements

May be required to report for shelter duty during community emergencies and/or disasters.