Posted on June 26, 2014 at 6:00 am
We have all had times in which life’s challenges push us to the point of needing help. The first time I was without a job, I was at a loss as to what to do. When the next job didn’t come quickly, someone suggested that I see if I could get help from the local Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) office. I did get some much needed assistance with food and health insurance for my daughter, but the process of waiting an eternity in a DSHS office and filling out endless forms was tedious and forever imprinted on my memory.
Today, DSHS offers many of the same services and more. Depending on income and circumstances, someone might qualify for cash and food assistance, help with medical expenses, housing help, pregnancy support, child support aid, and a variety of emergency based programs. Applying for these services no longer requires a long wait in a crowded and stuffy office. Now you can go online and apply at Washington Connection.
Additionally, DSHS has found another way to get services to people who need them–especially in rural and under-served communities. They put an office on the back of a truck and drive right to them. The DSHS Mobile Community Services Office (CSO) is a fully-functioning office with friendly staff, ready to enroll applicants on the spot. Eligibility determinations and recertification for food, cash, Classic Medical programs for elderly or disabled, EBT cards, and more can be processed and completed immediately. No appointment is needed.
Until recently, you could apply for Basic Health and Apple Health for Children through DSHS. The changes in health care in Washington expanded Medicaid and rebranded it for qualifying children and adults as Apple Health. Now, to apply, a person needs to call or go to the Washington Health Plan Finder website.
However, this summer the Mobile CSO and Spokane County Library District (SCLD) are partnering to assist people who need to apply for both types of assistance. The Mobile CSO will be at several libraries and one of the library’s certified Navigators will join them to enroll people in health insurance and Apple Health.
I had the great pleasure of joining the staff of the Mobile CSO earlier this year. They are welcoming, knowledgeable, and eager to help any and every one who stops by the truck. If you’re in need of assistance or have a question to ask, please come to apply for benefits or say hello to all of us between 9:30am and 3pm at the following SCLD locations:
Tuesday, Jul 1
Monday, Jul 14
Airway Heights Community Center (next to Library)
Tuesday, Jul 15
Tuesday, Aug 5
See you there!