The Accounting Unit is responsible for all fiscal activities of the department including claiming, payments, accounts, and budgeting. Some of the major functions include:
The Central Assessment unit determines, through the referral and UASNY home and individual assessment, the need for services of clients for any program it offers, or refers to NY Medicaid Choice if appropriate.
Title IV-D of the Social Security Act requires that each state operate a child support program. In New York State this program is divided into the Support Collection Unit (SCU) and the Child Support Enforcement Unit (CSEU).
All services are provided free of charge to all residents in Greene County who request our services.
Clients applying for temporary assistance, medical assistance and foster care services must be referred to the Child Support Unit.
The Children’s Services Unit is divided into Child Welfare (CW) and Child Protective Services (CPS). All services are available regardless of income.
Child Protective Services (CPS) has the responsibility of receiving and investigating reports of suspected child abuse and/or maltreatment of any child under the age of 18 years old. Reports are received from the State Central Registry and must investigations be initiated within 24 hours by a caseworker. Caseworkers have 60 days to make a determination on the report.
During the investigation the caseworker must determine if there is credible evidence to substantiate the allegations. If so, the report is indicated as being true and protective services are continued. An indicated report is sealed and kept on file until 10 years after the youngest child’s 18th birthday. If the report is not substantiated it is considered unfounded. The unfounded report is sealed and kept on file for 10 years.
Foster care is a service in which children are placed in certified foster homes, group homes or residential facilities approved by the state for the purpose of 24 hour care. All children in placement have the Commissioner as their custodian.
Children may be placed due to an emergency removal by CPS because of the risk of imminent danger. Other children are placed through the court system because they have been adjudicated a Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) or a Juvenile Delinquent (JD). In limited cases a child may be voluntarily placed in foster care by a parent who is temporarily unable to care for the child due to illness, incarceration or any other temporary inability to meet the child’s needs.
Casework counseling and referral to clinical and rehabilitative services are integral components of this service in order to meet the Permanency Plan to return the child to the natural parent. Finding qualified foster families who can provide the love and guidance that these children desperately require is a difficult task. The certification requirements are stringent to ensure the well being of the children placed in care. Thirty hours of classroom training are required and are provided by other voluntary agencies that social services works collaboratively with on shared cases.
Adoption services are provided to all children under 18 years old who are legally free for adoption. Children become free for adoption when the natural parent’s rights have been terminated. Termination of parental rights can occur when the parent willingly signs legal documents, before a judge, surrendering the child for adoption. Termination of parental rights also occurs when a child is adjudicated by a Family Court Judge, as :permanently neglected or abused.” All “freed” children are under the guardianship of the Commissioner of Social Services.
“Freed” children 14 years of age and older may choose not to be adopted and remain in foster care under the Independent Living Program. With release to independence as their goal, children are taught basic life skills to enable them to be successful. They will remain in foster care until 18 years old, or with their consent until age 21.
Adoption homefinding is also a part of the adoption process. Adults who wish to adopt may apply free of charge. An intensive homestudy process and 30 hours of training are required. If the homestudy is approved, the applicants can then be matched with freed children across New York State who are photo listed in books which are referred to as the “Blue Books.”
Preventive Services are intensive casework intervention coupled with referral to clinical services provided to children & their families for the purpose of averting a disruption of a family which will or could result in placement of a child in foster care. This service is also provided to families whose child is in placement to reduce the length of time in foster care, as well as, to prevent a return to foster care following discharge.
Caseworkers assist parents to gain access to services, encourage them to begin treatment for drug abuse, alcohol addiction and emotional problems. They are encouraged to attend parenting skills classes and referred to services such as day care, medical providers, schools and job training programs.
Referrals come through CPS reports, Family court, Probation, other agencies, as well as, client requests. Services are offered regardless of income.
A client in receipt of Family Assistance, Safety Net Assistance or Snap who has been deemed work eligible, has certain employment requirements to fulfill or sanctions against benefits could occur.
The Welfare-to-Work Program provides help to Family Assistance and Safety Net Assistance recipients to prepare them for, and help them find, gainful employment. This program provides for certain training and child care. Clients are between the ages of 16 and 60.
Welfare-to-Work participation begins with an orientation by an employment worker followed by an individual assessment of the client’s education level, job skills, and interests, along with past history. Based on this assessment, a worker will help a client develop an employability plan which will list the Welfare-to-Work activities.
Welfare-to-Work activities can be participation in certain education programs, job skills training, job readiness training, on-the-job training, job search, CWEP and other employment-related activities. All activities are intended to help clients become self-supporting, so they will no longer need Temporary Assistance.
Under Welfare-to-Work clients receive allowances for child care, transportation, clothing, and work tools. For clients who find employment, child care, medical assistance and Snap may continue for up to one year after the family assistance case closes.
For clients who are in receipt of Safety Net and are between the ages of 16 and 60 and able to work, job searches and work experience will be required on an on-going basis according to regulations.
Clients can have decisions about their cases reviewed by asking for a fair hearing. Hearings can be requested on a denial, discontinuance, or reduction of benefits or services on matters of state policy or a failure of the agency to act in a timely manner. An agency conference is recommended prior to fair hearings. Please call 719-3700 to schedule an agency conference.
Hearings are requested by phoning the Office of Administrative Hearings at 1-800-342-3334 or (518) 474-8781 or by writing to New York State Department of Social Services, Fair Hearing Bureau, P. O. Box 1930, Albany, New York, 12201 .
Hearings are held at the Greene County Department of Social Services, Main Street , Catskill. Hearings are presided over by an Administrative Law Judge who is a state employee. At the hearing the agency must justify the action it has taken. Clients can have representatives at the hearing and they can present evidence or bring witnesses. Hearings are usually held about one month after they are requested and decisions are rendered within six weeks after the hearing.
The Fraud Unit is responsible for the investigation of all allegations of welfare fraud. These allegations are received from the general public, agency staff, employers, law enforcement agencies, etc. The Fraud Unit is also responsible for case preparation, including collection of supporting documentation and the preparation of overpayment budgets. The District Attorney then reviews the case to determine if the case should be prosecuted or disposed of administratively. These cases also carry disqualification from the assistance programs.. There are several options for submitting fraud allegations:
You may report any type of fraud to your local Department of Social Services, including Medicaid, SNAP, Temporary Assistance, HEAP, and vendor/provider fraud. You may call the above number or stop into the agency to report the allegation.
Call the above number to report Medicaid fraud allegations which will then be forwarded to the local office.
You may report Temporary Assistance, SNAP and HEAP fraud allegations by filling out an online complaint on their website: reportwelfarefraud.otda.ny.gov These allegations will be forwarded to the local office.
ALL SUBMISSIONS OF FRAUD ALLEGATIONS ARE STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL
The Recovery Unit is responsible for the collection and monitoring of all fraud overpayment collections by maintaining an overpayment case file on all fraud cases with overpayments. This unit also interacts with clients with questions regarding fraud overpayments.
The Resource Unit is responsible for recovering funds from available resources such as property (liens) and the collection of funds from Personal Needs Accounts from nursing homes. The unit conducts property searches and is responsible for the preparation and filing of all pertinent legal documents. As of 2011, this agency contracted with Health Management Systems (HMS) who handle accident liens, claims against estates, Medicaid real property liens, and trust accounts. HMS is located at 2 Winner Circle, Suite 220, Albany, NY and can be reached by calling (877)331-1460
The agency has two full-time attorneys on staff.
The attorneys provide legal advice to the various divisions within the Department of Social Services and represents the Agency in Family Court cases and in related matters in other courts and legal forums. Among their chief duties are prosecuting abuse and neglect cases in Family Court as well as aiding in Adult Services cases. Other responsibilities also include representing the agency at fair hearings, some child support enforcement cases and fraud/resources proceedings, as needed.
The Medical Assistance Program (MA) commonly referred to as Medicaid was instituted in New York State in 1966 to provide services to the medically needy enabling the state to make payments directly to participating providers of medical care, such as, hospitals, doctors, druggists, etc. Our agency utilizes the following Managed Care providers:
To qualify, applicants must meet prescribed income and resource requirements.
Protective Services for Adults (PSA) is for persons 18 years of age or older who are unable to protect their own interests, harmed or threatened with harm through action or inaction by another individual or themselves. Persons who are physically and/or mentally impaired who have no one who can help them and have unmet essential needs will be provided with this service regardless of income.
Such services include the investigation and assessment of the individual’s needs, casework counseling arranging alternative living conditions, Preventive Services, Social Services, Medical Services, functioning as a conservator, guardianship, providing homemaker services, representative payee or protective payee, providing advocacy, and assistance in arranging for legal services.
The Staff Development Coordinator is responsible for conducting orientation for new Social Services staff as well as scheduling training or education programs which are deemed necessary for the completion of appropriate job duties. This includes registering employees at state and local sponsored training sessions, as well as arranging for in-house training sessions.
Other duties include:
The SNAP Program was established under the Food Stamp Act of 1964 and 1977. The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under federal law. In New York State the program is administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance under Section 95 and 29 of the Social Services Law.
The purpose of the SNAP Program is to reduce hunger and malnutrition among the members of low income households. Examples of low income households who may be eligible for SNAP are: the unemployed; persons working for low wages or part-time; the elderly or disabled on fixed incomes, and persons on Temporary Assistance or other assistance programs. It may take up to 30 days to receive your SNAP benefits.
SNAP can only be used to buy food items, plants and seeds to grow food. They cannot be used to purchase pet food, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, paper products soap, ready to eat hot foods or vitamins.
The SNAP Program is a 100% federally funded program.
Expedited SNAP can be issued within five calendar days to cover specific emergency situations. A client does not need to be out of food to qualify.
Temporary Assistance (TA) formerly called Public Assistance (PA) provides help to needy people in the form of cash grants to eligible clients. The cash grants will help clients to pay for:
In New York State there are two major cash assistance programs.
The cash assistance consists of a basic allowance, energy allowance, supplemental, rent and fuel allowance if fuel is not included in the rent. All recipients must apply separately for SNAP and Medicaid although most would be eligible.
Important Information For Both Programs:
Day Care Services – Day Care is a service for children whose parents need help in providing care and supervision while they are ill, employed, enrolled in a job training or rehabilitation program, actively seeking employment or attending school. The service is provided to children from six weeks old through their thirteenth birthday.
Day Care may be provided to families who meet the income guidelines in one of three categories:
Day Care may also be provided as part of a plan of service to provide preventive or protective services for a child without regard to income.
All Day Care facilities are licensed by New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Any person who cares for more than two children in their own home is required by law to be certified. Informal Day Care homes are not licensed but are limited to no more than two children plus the providers own children. Payment is up to established market rates.
Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF) – this program is intended to meet temporary emergency situations. It may cover persons already receiving ongoing assistance under certain conditions as well as non-recipients. To be eligible for EAF, the same criteria must be met as for Temporary Assistance and all other resources must be explored. EAF may only be authorized for one thirty day period in any twelve consecutive months. EAF may not be used to supplement a temporary assistance grant.
Emergency Aid to Adults (EAA) – intended to assist aged, blind and disabled SSI recipients. EAA can cover the following emergencies: catastrophic loss of clothing, furniture, food, shelter or fuel, stolen/lost checks, mismanaged cash, moving expenses, maintenance of a home while a person is temporarily hospitalized to prevent an eviction or a utility shutoff.
Another area of emergency aid is the payment arrangement payback. Where an able bodied single adult or childless couple not eligible for an EAF but in need of emergency assistance could, if eligible, sign a payment arrangement agreeing to pay back the agency’s money given to cover the emergency.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) – intended to assist with cost for heat and energy related expenses (including repairs and maintenance of heating equipment). Eligibility is based on income received by the household during the month in which they apply. Household size and energy type define the specific amount of the grant. HEAP regulations provide for regular and emergency benefits. Provisions vary each year.
The Data Entry Unit oversees the system and equipment, produces reports and trouble shoots system problems.
Welfare Management System (WMS) is a statewide automated network that supports the administration of human services programs that provide cash, medical, SNAP, energy assistance, services for adults, children and child support.
WMS has numerous subsystems that create business processes for agencies at the state and local level to deliver benefits to the state’s low income population. WMS connects the entire state to a central computer located in Albany, allowing a common database of stored information shared by the districts.
Some of the statewide systems are as follows: