VOICE OF THE TOWNSHIP

Wow!! It seems like we just finished celebrating Memorial Day, and already we are looking forward to the July Fourth holiday. The days and weeks seem to go by so quickly in the Summer, don’t they?

We are continuing at Wayne Township to help our clients with the goal of transitioning them from assistance to independence. I am very proud of our Employment Department, which recently reported to me that eighteen more of our clients moved toward independence by finding jobs.

For those clients who have not found employment or are unable to work, my staff strives to help them with their shelter, utility and food needs. In assisting clients, Wayne Township, like every Township in Indiana, must comply with Indiana law and with our Township Eligibility Standards.

Sometimes, as much as we would like to help someone, we cannot because that individual does not qualify legally for assistance. When a client is denied assistance, that client may not always agree or may not fully understand the reason he or she was not granted assistance.

If a client is dissatisfied with our denial of assistance, that client has the right to appeal our decision to the Allen County Board of Commissioners. The client’s appeal must be filed within fifteen days of the date the denial was issued. The denial notice includes information for the client regarding his or her right to appeal.

The Commissioners, by statute, may either hear the appeal themselves or appoint a hearing officer to hear the cases. In Allen County, the Commissioners appoint a hearing officer who is an attorney employed by the County.

The hearings are informal and client-friendly, so the clients can present their cases themselves. Most clients do not have attorneys when they appear at Commissioners’ Court.

The hearings are conducted every Friday morning. The hearing officer hears appeals for all townships in Allen County, not just Wayne Township.

Wayne Township normally is represented by our attorney, Karen Walker, and the investigator or supervisor who handled the case. To prevail, the client must show that the decision made by the Township either violates Indiana law or violates the Township’s Eligibility Standards.

Following the hearing, the Hearing Officer issues a written decision. The appeal system, which is established by Statute, gives clients a chance to voice their concerns to a neutral hearing officer about their denial of assistance.

Sometimes clients don’t understand that we had no alternative other than to deny them assistance because they do not meet the requirements for eligibility. Very often, once the hearing is completed, they have a better understanding of how the system works and why they had to be denied.

I hope everyone in Waynedale has a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday.

 

Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.

 

Wayne Township Trustee

The Waynedale News Staff

Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.

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