While we always try our best to accommodate the needs of everyone who comes through our doors at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office, we also must follow Indiana Law and our Eligibility Standards which sometimes require us to deny assistance to persons who come to us for help. Recently my staff and I have gotten some questions from persons we had to deny. I want those individuals to know that I understand their frustration, and we would help them if we could.
When an individual is denied because they are not eligible for Township Assistance, we still have some options to help them. We often refer them to our Community Resource Specialist, Dennis Powell. Mr. Powell tries to find other agencies within our community that might be able to help. He works with utility companies too to see if a payment plan or other option can be worked out for back utility bills and deposits.
Persons who need food can come to our office on Monday mornings and get food from the Community Harvest Farm Wagon. Anyone is eligible for food from the Farm Wagon regardless of whether or not they are eligible for Township Assistance. We also have a food pantry within our office for those who need food, and visitors to the pantry don’t have to be Township Assistance clients.
I have noticed that some persons who are denied Township Assistance don’t always understand why they were denied. If a client does not understand the reason for a denial, please ask the investigator to explain further. If the client is still not satisfied, he or she can speak to a supervisor. I know understanding the reason for a denial can be complicated because it is a legal matter and many of us may not be familiar with the legal terms being used.
One of the legal terms regularly used for a denial of assistance is “wasted resources.” What this term means is that a client has used his or her income to purchase items that are not by law considered to be basic necessities of living. The law spells out what constitutes basic necessities, and that definition is very narrow. It includes food, shelter, medical care, clothing, household essentials, utilities and some transportation costs. It does not include a telephone unless you need it for medical reasons, internet, cable TV, car repairs or payments and many of the other bills we might normally think of as basic. So when a client uses his or her income to purchase items that do not meet the definition of basic necessities that is considered having “wasted resources.”
State Law and our Eligibility Standards contain many other reasons for denying assistance. For example, to receive Township Assistance, a person must meet our income guidelines. If a client has received assistance before, he or she must have completed his or her assigned work hours at a government or non-profit agency. All clients able to work, must be enrolled and complete the requirements for our Employment Training Center before receiving further assistance. If a client is not satisfied with the reason given for the denial, he or she may appeal the decision to the Allen County Commissioners, where the client will receive a hearing before a neutral hearing officer. The client also can fill out a comment form at our office, and I will review that form and contact the client for further information or follow-up, if necessary.
Once again my staff and I had a wonderful time at the Waynedale Picnic this year. The weather was beautiful, the event was so well-organized! And the attendance was the best ever. Thanks to all for coming out and making this year’s picnic such a success!
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