I believe I have the best job in the world, I’ve told many people and I think it’s true. How many other jobs allow you to directly impact your neighbors and improve the quality of their lives? It’s like the feeling you get during the holidays when you commit random acts of kindness.

Often people ask me why so many people need township assistance and how they qualify. Clients who receive your tax dollars for their needs have to meet very specific criteria. First and foremost, their income must fall below the federal poverty guidelines ($776.00 gross income per month for a household of one). They are also required to exhaust that income on their basic necessities and then (and only then) do your tax dollars make up the difference. If they are able bodied they work in the community to repay you for helping them, if they refuse they can’t receive assistance for six months.
They also have to prove they are looking for, and willing to accept work when offered.

I have often heard people say that our clients are just lazy and don’t want to work. I have to disagree with them; a great number of our clients need help because they are not physically able to work. These clients have applied for disability and are awaiting the federal government to make a determination on their status. These clients sign a form that says the township will be reimbursed for all the assistance provided to them. Some clients need help because they are victims of domestic violence, or they have been laid off from a job.

Township assistance was designed to be temporary aid, not ongoing assistance. The township has the ability to meet the emergency needs of medicine, food, shelter, and utilities. The law requires that after receiving township assistance, clients must apply for all state and federal programs to meet their long-term needs.

Before providing assistance to eligible clients the township does a thorough investigation of their finances and expenditures. Clients must show proof of their income and provide paid bill receipts to verify how the income was used. If clients provide false information or waste their resources on non-essential items (as defined by the Indiana statutes) they are not eligible for township assistance.

Wayne Township also differs from other states and federal agencies in the manner by which assistance is distributed. Other agencies provide direct cash benefits to the clients. They cash the checks and (hopefully) use that income towards their basic needs. Wayne Township provides no cash benefits, we pay only on vendors. This process insures that 100% of your tax dollars goes to meet the basic necessity of that client’s household. Every one of the twelve hundred monthly applications is handled in this manner. Wouldn’t it be great if all government agencies completely accounted for your tax dollars? Accountability is essential in township government and required by law. The township budget and the annual finance report are published in both local papers each year.

As Wayne Township Trustee, I want you to know that and believe those that can work should work, and those that don’t should be looking. I will strive to be the best steward of your tax dollars and I sincerely thank you for giving me the best job in the world. On behalf of all the clients that are so thankful for the temporary use of your tax dollars we thank you and wish you the best this year!

The Waynedale News Staff

Matthew Schomburg

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