(Revised 11/02 ML #2829)
The county social service office shall provide application forms to any individual, agency, fuel vendor, etc., who may wish to distribute and assist a potential applicant in completing the form. ALL applications MUST be received by the county social service board, however, and reviewed for eligibility. NO OTHER agency may make any decision regarding eligibility or the level of benefits.
Applications will be taken by the county social service board in the county where the client currently resides.
Face-to-face interviews shall not be required unless factors affecting eligibility cannot be clarified by telephone or mail. Circumstances which may indicate the need for a face-to-face interview include:
An applicant has a history of misrepresentation;
An applicant has difficulty understanding written communication;
The application has discrepancies or complex resource information which cannot be resolved by telephone or mail; and
The applicant is a "high risk" for Emergency Assistance and an interview is appropriate for crisis prevention (see 415-50-02-05).
Counties who elect to routinely schedule applications by interview must inform the applicant that the interview can be waived if it will cause undue hardship because of poor health, lack of transportation, age, disability, isolation, or conflicting work schedules. Counties are encouraged to be innovative in providing assistance to applicants who cannot come to the county office. In some cases, if weather conditions are poor and an emergency need for fuel exists, the application might be taken by phone, and if income verifications can be done with collateral contacts, the application could be sent with the fuel vendor when he makes an emergency delivery of fuel so the applicant can sign it.
If alternate methods are not successful in assisting the applicant to complete or understand the application or payment procedures, the county office must arrange a personal contact. This may require a home visit if the applicant cannot come to the office and other arrangements are not practical.