I was talking with one of my staff recently about one of our clients. We had been able to help this client, and she had been so thankful for the assistance she received from the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office.
Focusing on our real mission has been challenging for me and my staff because of all the recent attacks on township government and the efforts by the Governor and others to eliminate townships. This conversation about our client really brought me back to reality.
The client is what we are all about at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office. I, as one Trustee, cannot fight the well-financed lobbying effort of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce or the Governor’s public relations machine in their efforts to eliminate townships. I can’t fight the outdated, misleading or incorrect information being circulated by powerful media outlets in their continuing editorial assault on townships.
All I can really do is focus on our mission and focus on helping each and every eligible client who comes into our office. That means helping unemployed clients who need rent or utility assistance and who need help finding jobs. That means helping our payee clients, most of whom are on social security disability, to pay their bills from their own funds. That means helping clients pay for necessary medications while they wait months for the State to make a decision on their Medicaid applications.
The particular client my staff member was referring to became ill and could no longer work. Until that time, she had worked most of her life. She even had gone to school to upgrade her skills so she could get a better job.
When she became ill, she applied for benefits from the State, including food stamps and Medicaid. She made the application for help from the State way back last October.
She needed the food stamps to help her get by until she could return to work. But, more importantly, she needed the Medicaid so she could get the surgery that would enable her to return to work. She had lost her insurance when she could no longer work.
Since the State was taking so long to process her application, she turned to the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office for help. We were able to help her very quickly with rent assistance and with her medicines. She said she did not know what she would have done without our help.
When a client comes into our office, we generally are able to schedule an appointment for them to see an investigator within a week. The client will be awarded assistance on the day of his or her appointment as long as the client brings all necessary documentation.
If the client needs to provide additional documentation, the investigator will schedule a second appointment a week later to complete the assistance process. We also make exceptions for clients in emergency situations and try to get them help as soon as possible.
I understand the client I was speaking about finally has been awarded her food stamps after waiting four months for help from the State. This only was accomplished after one of my staff met with a state representative and, shall we say, strongly emphasized this client’s need for her benefits.
As of the time I am writing this column, this client still is waiting to hear about her Medicaid application.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee