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Benefit Program Specialist I/II (Northampton) Full-time

at Virginia Department of Social Services - Local in Virginia (Published at 21-09-2019)

Benefit Programs Specialist I/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. GENERAL WORK TASKS: 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; computes assistance plans; determines the amount of allowances for special circumstance items such as household equipment; 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.

Minimum Qualifications

Working knowledge of: practices of public service organizations; economic and 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. Skill in operating a personal computer. 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; 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 or equivalent OR any equivalent combination of training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities. Prefer experience in benefit programs and completion of required Benefit Programs training.Prefer experience with agency related software. Prefer benefit programs eligibility determination experience in a local Virginia Department of Social Services within the last two years. Prefer bilingual English/Spanish skills.

Special Requirements

Employee must be willing to work in community emergency shelter in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. Applicants may be subject to a Criminal History Background search, Central Registry search, DMV/driving record check, and/or pre-employment drug screen. The investigation may include: fingerprint checks (State Police, FBI), local agency checks, employment verification and references, verification of education (relevant to employment), credit checks (relevant to employment) and other checks requested by the hiring authority. This position is covered under Code of Virginia §63.2-1601.1 or §63.2-1720 requiring the finalist candidate to submit to fingerprinting and provide personal descriptive information for a criminal history record check through the Central Criminal Records Exchange and a search of the Central Registry. All offers of employment are contingent upon satisfactory results of the required checks and screenings.

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