Crow Wing County Community Services Income Maintenance Division announced several enhancements to its customer service process.
“It is part of a multi-step approach to serving the public in a more efficient and timely manner,” said Joan Hasskamp, financial assistance supervisor, in a news release. “We want to let the public know that there are several ways they can communicate with us that don’t involve phone calls or trips to the county building.”
Communication options include:
• Applicants may apply online at https://applymn.dhs.mn.gov for health care, SNAP (food support), child care assistance, cash assistance, emergency help, breast and cervical cancer and family planning programs. When applying online, applicants are given the option to electronically attach verifications to the application before they submit. The online application is then electronically sent to a state, county or tribal worker to review. A county worker will contact the applicant if additional verifications are needed. Determination of eligibility may take between 30-45 days.
• Crow Wing County offers phone interviews for many types of applications and reviews. Food support, general assistance, Minnesota Supplemental Assistance and Group Residential Housing programs require an interview, however, there is no requirement that the interview be held in the office. They can all be done over the phone.
• Health care applications require no interview at all. Once an application is received in the office, a county worker will contact the applicant if additional verifications are needed.
• Phones are answered by financial workers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For questions concerning Long Term Care programs call 824-1357. For Health care only questions call 824-1349 and for all other programs including cash and food support call 824-1250.
• Information regarding county assistance programs along with answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) may be found at www.co.crow-wing.mn.us.
• An online eligibility screening tool is available at mn.bridgetobenefits.org and at www.co.crow- wing.mn.us. This tool is designed to help families and individuals determine if they may be eligible for public assistance programs and tax credits.
• Paperwork may be dropped off or picked up at the customer service desk located on the first floor of community services. Applications and most forms may be picked up at this window as well.
• There is a drop box for paperwork located in front of community services by the parking lot.
Hasskamp encourages the public to utilize the alternative methods of communication with income maintenance.
“We average around 2,000 desk inquiries per month,” Hasskamp said. “We realize that it’s a hardship for many county residents to visit our office in person and often there is a wait time. For that reason the county will continue to try to identify ways to simplify the process and provide communication options.
Crow Wing County’s Department of Community Services administers more than 70 federal and state benefit and assistance services and programs totaling more than $116 million dollars annually. For more information on public assistance programs, call 824-1250 or visit www.co.crow-wing.mn.us.