EATON — Six months into 2017, numbers for public assistance are holding steady, according to Director of Job and Family Services (JFS) Becky Sorrell. She attended the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, July 19, to provide her June update.
Children Services numbers are also fairly steady, Sorrell said, aside from a large increase on the last day of June. On that day, they received custody of nine children, from four different families, she reported.
There has been an upswing in delinquent youth and those with mental health issues, according to Sorrell.
Sorrell warned commissioners about a program which recently ended, as she suspects they might be getting calls regarding it.
“One of the things that I don’t normally report the number on is a program called Disability Financial Assistance (DFA),” Sorrell said. “This is a cash assistance program that people get if they apply for social security, disability, or SSI while that application is pending. Our governor has ended that program. However, no notices have been sent out to let them know that the program is ending.
“I’m telling you this, because you might get some phone calls. I want you to be aware that at this point no notices have been sent out. I gave you an information sheet that we got in June about this. It’s going to be phased out, so it’s not just shut down. I just want you to be aware in case somebody stops you. We only have 24 individuals in Preble County who received DFA in June and 24 is the most we’ve had in a month.”
Commissioner Rodney Creech asked, “What is a disability?”
Sorrell answered, “We don’t decide if they have a disability or not. They have applied for social security, disability, or SSI and the answer to that is pending. It has neither been approved or denied. If they’re income eligible, they have no other source of income, they are eligible for DFA, which is $115 a month. It’s not much money.
“I just wanted you to be aware, because we got no notice. You can see we got this letter in June. There’s no intent to send any sort of notice until late August.”
Commissioner Denise Robertson asked if JFS sends the notices or if the state does and Sorrell reported the state does.
In other news, JFS has am opportunity to apply for a grant for elder justice. “Not necessarily elder abuse, but elder justice,” Sorrell clarified. “We’re looking at different ways to apply for that and services we might be able to apply. I’ll have to write that grant and get busy on that pretty quickly, but I’ve already talked to other social services agencies and we’ve gotten some ideas. I’ll let you know if we decide to move forward in applying for that grant.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH