Benefit Programs Specialist I/II - Petersburg
Dept of Social Services - Local - Petersburg, VA

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A Benefit Programs Specialist I represents the entry level in the occupational group for employees working under close supervision while being trained in determining eligibility for a variety of social services government assistance programs.

A Benefit Programs Specialist II represents the full-performance level in the Benefit Programs Specialist occupational group. Employees' responsibilities are related to the determination and re-determination of eligibility of individuals and families for financial assistance, food stamps, medical assistance 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 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 cases for changes in recipient circumstances, and implements changes to appropriately reflect benefit level within guidelines. 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 programs and rights/responsibilities of applicants and recipients; explores other possible sources of income; computes assistance plans; determines the amount of allowances for special circumstance items such as household equipment. Identifies clearly discernible social problems and makes referrals to Social Workers. Provides applicants or recipients with information about other agencies where they may go for services as needed. Explains a variety of programs under the social services umbrella such as employment services, child support services and child care services. MULTIPLE POSTIONS ARE BEING FILLED.

Minimum Qualifications
Some knowledge of basic human behavior. Knowledge of mathematics to calculate percentages, formulas and averages to solve mathematical problems. Skill in operating a personal computer. Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain case records, access and retrieve data, create reports and/or manipulate data. Demonstrated ability to interview, collect data, gather information and/or investigate. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Ability to evaluate situations, analyze information, and apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written or oral form. Ability to exercise sound judgment, discretion, tact and resourcefulness in solving problems and drawing logical conclusions. Ability to maintain professional ethics related to confidentiality and establishes and maintains effective working relationships with others in a positive and tactful manner under sometimes stressful situations.

Preferred Qualifications
High school diploma or equivalent supplemented with additional training and related work experience OR any equivalent combination of training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities. Prefer working knowledge of financial assistance programs sufficient to determine/re-determine eligibility for benefits. Prefer completion of required Benefit Programs training. Prefer experience with agency related software such as VACMS, MMiS SPIDeR, and/or ADAPT.

Special Requirements
All applicants are subject to a DMV/driving record check, pre-employment drug screen, and CPS and Criminal History Search.

The investigation may include: fingerprint checks (State Police, FBI); local agency checks; employment verification; verification of education (relevant to employment); credit checks; and other checks requested by the hiring authority.

Employee must be willing to work in community emergency shelter in the event of a natural disaster or emergency.