Under direction, to assist severely mentally ill and/or disabled clients to apply for benefits from various federal and state programs; to assist severely mentally ill and/or disabled clients to obtain necessary documentation of eligibility; to advocate for severely mentally ill and/or disabled clients in the application and appeals processes; and to perform other duties as required.
This class works closely with Social Security Administration for Social Security Disability benefits and other agencies to provide expertise in interpreting and applying eligibility requirements for the various benefits available to severely mentally ill and/or disabled clients. Incumbents work independently with a caseload of severely mentally ill and/or disabled clients, advocating for them and assisting them in complicated benefit application and follow-up activities. Clients on this caseload are generally severely mentally ill and/or disabled adults who require medical treatment by a psychiatrist and other medical providers. Incumbents refer clients to appropriate mental health staff or other agencies for assistance other than benefit related. This class differs from the higher class of Mental Health Client Specialist who performs assessment, counseling, and treatment in addition to referral and advocacy for clients. This class differs from the lower class of Community Mental Health Aide, which assists with daily activities of mental health clients under close supervision of professional staff.
Interviews severely mentally ill and/or disabled clients to obtain, clarify and verify a wide variety of information related to initial and continuing eligibility for various state and federal benefit programs. Assists clients in obtaining appropriate eligibility documents, which includes contacting family members, obtaining hospital and other medical records, work history and financial history. Interviews family members, medical providers and other social service providers to obtain additional eligibility information. Assists clients to complete complicated applications for benefits. Reviews applications for benefits to insure completeness and compliance with program requirements. Works with Social Security Administration to become knowledgeable in benefit eligibility requirements and acts as an advocate for clients with Social Security Administration staff, including participation in court hearings to establish disability benefits. Explains benefit program regulations to clients, their families and other Mental Health staff persons. Transports or arranges for transportation for clients to obtain necessary documents and appear for required appointments and interviews. Assists clients in filing for administrative appeals regarding entitlement to benefits and advocates for them throughout the appeal process, as necessary. Makes referrals within the agency or to other programs and agencies, as appropriate. Participates in extensive training to learn complex laws and regulations regarding various benefit eligibility requirements.
Training and Experience
Two years of experience assisting clients apply for benefits from various federal, state or local government sponsored programs
Equivalent to a degree from an accredited four year college or university in counseling, psychology, or a behavioral or social science and one year experience working with severely mentally ill and/or disabled clients.
Upon appointment possess and maintain a valid California Class C Drivers License or the employee must be able to provide suitable transportation which is approved by the appointing authority.