The Application Process For TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and SCHIP. Reception/Intake


The initial point of contact with the welfare system typically occurs in the reception area of the welfare office. In each of the study sites, the first person new applicants speak with when they enter the welfare office is the receptionist/intake clerk. Receptionists/intake clerks provide blank applications, take completed applications, answer general questions, and sometimes conduct initial reviews of applications to check for missing information. (See Chapter 4 for more details on the written application.) They also frequently schedule eligibility interviews for applicants. Because individuals may not know exactly which benefit programs are available or for which they (or their children) might be eligible, some offices use the receptionist/intake clerk to screen applicants (or their applications) to determine which types of assistance they need, want, and/or for which they might be eligible. In some offices, the reception/intake staff may also review the application to see if the family appears eligible for expedited food stamps or other emergency services.6

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