Income Maintenance Caseworker Video Transcript



Narrator:  Some participants in this video assumed the role of customers.






Narrator:  Cash, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Emergency Shelter, and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance are some of the public assistance programs available to eligible, low-income individuals and families.



Income Maintenance Caseworkers must learn the requirements for these programs.  They determine eligibility for services and benefits to help individuals achieve financial independence.  Caseworkers also make referrals to appropriate agencies or community resources for needed social and employment services.



Bill:  Hello, Iím new to the area and the county assistance office sent me over here to get some job search assistance.


Bob:  Okay, we can help you out with that.  Please sign in here.



Narrator:  Income Maintenance Caseworkers are employed by the Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania through the Department of Public Welfare.  They work in County Assistance Offices located throughout the state.



Caseworker Adam:  When filling caseworker positions, we often find that the candidatesí job expectations are not realistic.



Caseworker Maurice:  When I applied for the caseworker job, I thought Iíd be doing more social work.  I thought Iíd be helping people with more of their everyday problems, like budgeting their money.   Once on the job, I found much of my time is spent using the computer to enter and retrieve data.    



Supervisor Adam:  People who come to County Assistance Offices are often facing critical life issues. They have little or no income and minimum resources.



Supervisor Adam:  They have immediate or long-term needs for medical services. 


Mother:  I just lost my job.  I have a child to take care of.  Iíd like to apply for benefits.


Receptionist:  Okay, hereís an application.


Supervisor Adam:  And they often have physical, mental, and social issues that inhibit their ability to resolve their immediate need.



Receptionist:  May I help you sir?


Customer:  Iím here to see my caseworker.


Receptionist:  Your name?


Narrator:  What does it take to be an effective Income Maintenance Caseworker?



Supervisor Adam:  When considering applicants for caseworker positions, I look for individuals who are sensitive to our customersí life issues, while identifying the barriers they face.



Woman customer:  My children and I recently moved to a womenís shelter because I was being abused by my husband.


Supervisor Adam:  I also look for individuals who are able to effectively communicate with customers, social service agencies, and other community organizations to obtain information for the eligibility determination, as well as resolving our customersí immediate needs.



Supervisor Adam:  I also look for individuals who have the ability to make sound decisions and work under pressure, and who are able to change direction at any time.



Supervisor Adam:  Maurice, I know you are trying to get your renewals done by deadline, but I need you to stop so that we can revisit that issue we had on MEDA yesterday.


Caseworker Maurice:  Okay.


Supervisor Adam:  This one here.



Narrator:  Upon employment, caseworkers must participate in training.


Supervisor Marisol: Newly-hired caseworkers begin general orientation at their home offices.



Supervisor Marisol:  After orientation, they are assigned to a Staff Development Training Center where they must successfully complete the Income Maintenance Standard Training Program.  This is an intensive classroom training program that includes learning basic eligibility requirements for the Cash, Food Stamp, and Medical Programs.


Classroom participant:  Almeda, you had mentioned that the customers have to be notified whether or not they are eligible for expedited food stamps.  How are they notified?


Trainer Almeda:  Okay, thatís going to be dependent on your situation.



Supervisor Marisol:  After classroom training, caseworkers receive on-the-job training at their home office.  During this training, their workload gradually increases.  They meet frequently with their supervisors to improve their skills for determining eligibility.



Narrator:  Income Maintenance Caseworkers manage two different facets of eligibility - Intake or Continued Eligibility.  What is a typical day like for an Intake Caseworker?



Caseworker Kim:  As an Intake Caseworker, I interview and determine initial eligibility for applicants who inquire about or apply for public assistance programs.  I take about four applications a day from individuals or families applying for any combination of public assistance programs, such as cash assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid.  For each application, I have to gather the required information concerning family, health, and finances; complete the necessary forms and paperwork; explain the program benefits; and then evaluate the resources and income to determine program eligibility.  This requires a high degree of accuracy.



Caseworker Kim:  Iím required to keep up with policy and procedural changes, which I access daily on my computer.  Itís critical that I prioritize my work and budget my time very carefully to insure that I am meeting the policy requirements for timeliness.


(Phone rings)


Caseworker Kim:  County Assistance Office, Mrs. Nelson, may I help you?


Customer:  Yeah, this is Mr. Lukach calling.


Caseworker Kim:  I must frequently reprioritize my daily tasks to resolve urgent issues that arise.



Caseworker Kim:  There are times when I must interact with individuals who are upset because they donít understand the policies and programs used to determine eligibility, the need for specific verifications, and the time constraints for processing applications.  If customers disagree with my decisions, they have the right to appeal.  Therefore, I must prepare and participate in hearings to justify my decisions. 



Narrator:  How does the job differ for a caseworker who works in the continued eligibility area?


Caseworker Maurice:  As a Continued Eligibility Caseworker, I monitor and evaluate existing caseloads to determine if customers will continue to be eligible for benefits. I also process new applications for existing customers.


Narrator:  As with any job, there are challenges and rewards to being an Income Maintenance Caseworker.



Caseworker Kim:  Hi Maurice.


Caseworker Maurice:  Hi Kim.


Caseworker Kim: You know there is no typical day in this job.  Everyday is different and every customer is different.


Caseworker Maurice:  Tell me about it.  Iíve had two walk-ins already today and Iím on my way to see my third one.


Caseworker Kim:  How many do you have scheduled?


Caseworker Maurice:  Ah, three for the day.  So, Iím pretty busy.  Iím going to run.  Iíll talk to you later.


Caseworker Kim:  Okay, see ya.



Receptionist Alice:   Kim, your appointment Mrs. Henderson is here to see you.


Caseworker Kim:  Okay, thank you.


Receptionist Alice:  Youíre welcome.



 Caseworker Kim:  I work with the unemployed and the never-employed- those who have completed their education and those who have never finished high school - married couples and single parents - and youth and the elderly.



Caseworker Kim:  This requires me to be flexible.  I have to be familiar with all the different programs and be able to match those programs with the needs of our customers.  On one hand, this makes my job challenging, but itís also whatís most rewarding about being a caseworker.



Caseworker Kim:  Just knowing that Iíve been able to help someone like Miss Henderson through a difficult time makes me feel good at the end of the day.



Caseworker Maurice:  The most challenging part of my job is keeping up with the policy and procedural changes that will allow me to make the correct eligibility decisions.  There is also a lot of paperwork involved with being a caseworker. 



Caseworker Maurice:  It is really important for me to be organized so that I can get my work completed on time.  Iíve found that having good time management skills is really important for me to be able to keep up with the work.



Caseworker Maurice:  Even though a big part of my job involves policy, procedures, and paperwork, the most important part is still the customer.  It is satisfying for me when I am able to balance these procedural demands with the needs of the individual customers I work with.



Caseworker Maurice:  The greatest reward for me is knowing Iíve been able to help someone like Ms. Antonelli through a rough time.



Narrator:  We hope the information in this job preview will help you make an informed decision about whether an Income Maintenance Caseworker job is right for you.  With this understanding, you should ask yourself these questions and decide if you are suited for the job.


Will I find job satisfaction as an Income Maintenance Caseworker?


Can I be an effective Income Maintenance Caseworker and handle the demands of helping individuals with disabilities or social issues to achieve self-sufficiency?





Narrator:  The Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission and the Department of Public Welfare thank those who have made this production a success.


Staff from:


Dauphin County Assistance Office

Lancaster County Assistance Office

Lebanon County Assistance Office

York County Assistance Office


Department of Public Welfare

Division of Staff Development


Lebanon Area CareerLink Office


State Civil Service Commission - Harrisburg Office


Family Members Role Playing Customers


Representatives of:


Holy Spirit Hospital - Camp Hill

Weis Market - Lebanon


Special Thanks to:

Lebanon County Assistance Office Staff

for the use of their facility


A production of the


Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission,

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare,

and commonwealth media services



@  2006  The Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission

Content Last Modified on 2/20/2008 10:49:31 AM