Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual

Interviewing for Eligibility




Table of Contents


The client is responsible for supplying verification to establish eligibility.  However, the agency will obtain information that is available to the agency or when it is more feasible for the agency to obtain the information.  The individual should be given information as to what sources are acceptable.  Never deny a case for failure to provide a particular source of verification when another source of verification is acceptable.  The client’s statement is acceptable verification when:


·        The client tries but is unable to obtain the information; and

·        The information is not available to and cannot be made available to DHS.


Provide, assist, or explain the following information to the client during the interview:


·        Give the client an explanation about what information is needed and what proofs are acceptable.


·        Explain the Diversion program to new applicants.


·        Explain time limits and give the client information regarding his/her current time count (if appropriate).


·        Inform the client that DHS will contact some individuals or organizations to establish proof of his/her eligibility. The client must be given an opportunity to refuse to give the right to secure information from an individual or agency.  If it is determined that a particular person or organization is the only acceptable source for certain required information and the client refuses permission to contact that source, then deny or terminate eligibility.


·        Assist individuals who are hearing or visually impaired or otherwise in need of special assistance by providing a reasonable means of communication about the program and their case activity.


·        Provide the Civil Rights pamphlet to each applicant.  Discrimination because of age, race, color, sex, handicap, religious creed, national origin, or political belief is unlawful. 


·        Inform the client that information about his/her circumstances will be held in confidence.


·        Inform the client of his/her right to appeal any Department action that he/she believes to be discriminatory or unfair or when action on a request for assistance is not taken with reasonable promptness.


·        Explain that it is unlawful for anyone to charge, either directly or indirectly, for helping the client file an application with the agency.


·        Explain that a request for assistance must be completed within 45 days.  Approval can be made only after all eligibility requirements are met.


·        Explain that each AU member who is applying for Families First cash assistance must furnish or apply for a Social Security number.


·        Explain that clients are entitled to be referred to the Department of Children’s Services, if requested.  Individuals must be referred if evidence of child neglect or abuse is observed.


·        Each AU adult and minor parent must have a Personal Responsibility Plan.  Discuss the requirements of the Personal Responsibility Plan.  Give the client information about:


-   Work requirements and possible support services

-   Penalties for failure to comply with the PRP

-   Child care


·        Explain to all clients:


-   That the AU’s rights to child support must be assigned to DHS.

-   That the caretaker must cooperate with Child Support Services to:


§  Identify all absent parents

§  Locate all absent parents

§  Establish court-ordered support


-        That he/she can claim good cause for failure to cooperate and what that claim entails.  (See Child Support Cooperation Chapter for details.)

-        How the AU may be eligible for child support pass-through payments.


·        Give a copy of the Child Support Handbook to the applicant/recipient.


·        Explain that the client can register to vote at the DHS office.

·        Explain that, if the applicant is approved, the AU will receive a cash assistance payment.


·        Explain that the cash assistance may be used as the applicant sees fit to meet the needs of the family.


·        Explain that, if the client is eligible for other benefits (other than SSI), the client must apply for and accept the benefits.  SSI is a potential benefit when age or disability is a factor.  Applying for SSI is optional, not required.


·        Explain that individuals under age 21 are eligible for Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSD&T) provided as a service of the Department of Health.


·        If the applicant is age 18-24, ask whether he or she was ever in state custody as a child.  If the answer is yes, direct them to the following website regarding services that may be available to them:


·        Explain other program policies that may apply:


-   Family cap

-   Marriage During receipt

-   EITC

-   Transitional benefits                 


·        At each application and renewal interview, give each applicant/recipient:


-   Diversion Agreement (at application) if applicable

-   PRP copy

-   Privacy Act pamphlet

-   Civil Rights pamphlet

-   Child Support Handbook



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