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Access to Services at IDHS Local Offices: Granted or Denied?. Dia Cirillo Work, Welfare and Families October 28, 2005. Access: Granted or Denied?. Findings from recent state research What’s the budget picture on access? New national research on the horizon

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Access to Services at IDHS Local Offices: Granted or Denied?

Dia Cirillo

Work, Welfare and Families

October 28, 2005


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Access: Granted or Denied?

  • Findings from recent state research

  • What’s the budget picture on access?

  • New national research on the horizon

  • Policy initiatives on access in Illinois


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2001-2005 Uptake Select Health and Income Supports

Source: TANF, Medicaid and Food Stamps by County 2001 & 2005 Illinois Department of Human Services


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Research

Policy and Practice: Customer Services in IDHS Local Offices

Accessing the Safety Net: Administrative Barriers to Public Benefits in Metropolitan Chicago

The Two Worlds of Welfare Reform in Illinois – Illinois Family Study July 2004


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Study Populations

  • Primarily Chicago area

  • Women 75 – 85%

  • African American 57 – 63%

  • Latino 20 – 23%

  • Caucasian 11 – 20%

  • In one study, 20% non-native English speakers


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Study Populations by Program

Local Office Survey:

  • TANF: 4.5%

  • Medicaid: 42%

  • Food Stamps: 57%

    Benefits Hotline:

  • TANF: 46%

  • Medicaid: 21%

  • Food Stamps 33%


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Research Findings

For all major programs, applying accounts for one of the single most significant issues:

  • In the office survey, 60% of the sample were unable to apply for a program on that day

    • Clients unlikely to be assessed for expedited food stamps; teens not referred to Teen Services

  • On the benefits hotline, confusion on applying constituted 34% of the calls

    • 72% of all problems reported involved case processing (verification and record keeping)


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Research Findings

Applying for and receiving benefits under TANF continues to be a challenge

  • One study shows direct correlation to decline in caseload

  • In local office survey only 2 of 27 individuals were able to apply for TANF on that day

  • Families transitioning out of TANF often are not connected to other programs – lower wage workers


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Research Findings

Paper work, particularly for low-wage workers, constitutes a barrier in applying and retaining benefits

  • Federal reviewers repeatedly document paper work processing due to inadequate computer and filing systems, specifically for FS and TANF

  • Low-wage workers face greater difficulties in retaining benefits because of fluctuations in earnings and work hours


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Research Findings

Adequate information on programs and procedures remains a problem

  • Lack of knowledge of the grievance and appeal process, even though many clients feel that they have the knowledge of programs to retain benefits

  • On the hotline, receiving information was the most commonly reported case-processing problem


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Research Recommendations

  • Improve the infrastructure to process cases

  • Improve internal monitoring and feedback

  • Use external monitors, advocates and citizens as IDHS watchdogs to safeguard access to benefits and improve admin accountability


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What’s the budget picture on access?Agency Operating Budget TotalsFY 02 – 06 in millions

Source: Illinois State Budget 2004 and 2005


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Agency Operating Budget FY 02 – 06 Percent Change from Previous Year

Source: Illinois State Budget 2004 and 2005


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Select Health and Income Support Previous YearPercent Change from Previous YearFY 02 – 06


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IDHS Proposed FY06 Previous YearHuman Capital Development - Operations

Percent Change in Telecommunications from previous year:

  • FY05 = -20%

  • Proposed FY06 = - 16%

    Proposed FY06 Appropriation = $2.3 M


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New National Research on Previous YearAccess and Recipiency

On low-wage workers:

  • Simulation of deficits in benefits: National Center on Children in Poverty

    Gap between eligibility and recipiency:

  • UIC-CUED and Center for Economic and Policy Research


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Source: National Center for Children in Poverty, Family Resource Simulator: Massachusetts 2003, with the value of Food Stamps provided by the author to Center for Economic and Policy Research (www.nccp.org/modeler/modeler.cgi).


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New Policy Initiatives on Access in Illinois Resource Simulator: Massachusetts 2003, with the value of Food Stamps provided by the author to Center for Economic and Policy Research (

Task Force on Access to Benefits, Fall 2005

MidAmerica Institute on Poverty – Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights

Goal

  • Simplify, make uniform, or otherwise ease the processes by which potentially eligible persons apply for and are determined eligible for benefits and services

    Charge

  • Thoroughly review and analyze policies and procedures concerning applications and determinations of eligibility for cash assistance, food stamps and medical assistance

  • Develop recommendations for appropriate changes in law, rules, policy or process to achieve goal

  • Develop proposed timelines and priorities for implementation


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New Policy Initiatives on Access in Illinois Resource Simulator: Massachusetts 2003, with the value of Food Stamps provided by the author to Center for Economic and Policy Research (

Establish new outcome measures that legitimately reflect the mission statement of DHS to support the self-sufficiency of clients

In communities outside of Cook, document barriers in accessing benefits at local offices; work with local partners to raise awareness of issues of access

Work, Welfare and Families and partners


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New Policy Initiatives on Access in Illinois Resource Simulator: Massachusetts 2003, with the value of Food Stamps provided by the author to Center for Economic and Policy Research (

Recommended Outcome Measures

  • Receipt of public benefits and support services helps Illinois low income families with a working head of household increase family income and move out of poverty.

  • Low income families are receiving appropriate services and supports and are better off after receiving benefits to which they are entitled

  • Benefits are readily available to and received by those eligible.

  • Existing policies and procedures are being consistently followed by informed staff.

  • Limited resources are being used efficiently and effectively in the delivery of quality services.


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Further Information Resource Simulator: Massachusetts 2003, with the value of Food Stamps provided by the author to Center for Economic and Policy Research (

  • Center for Impact Research – www.cir.org

  • Center on Policy and Economic Research www.cepr.net

  • Institute on Policy Research – Northwestern University

    www.northwestern.edu/ipr/research/IFS.html

  • MidAmerica Institute on Poverty – Heartland Alliance on Human Needs and Human Rights

    www.heartlandalliance.org

  • National Center on Children in Poverty www.nccp.org

  • Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

    www.povertylaw.org


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Dia Cirillo Resource Simulator: Massachusetts 2003, with the value of Food Stamps provided by the author to Center for Economic and Policy Research (

Work, Welfare and Families

166 W. Washington, #700

Chicago, IL 60602

312-658-0225x202

[email protected]

www.workwelfareandfamilies.org


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