Intake interviews on public assistance cases will take place over the phone, rather than in person, starting July 17.
This transition is happening for the convenience of the consumer, who will no longer have to travel downtown, pay for parking, arrange a ride, arrange for child care, etc. This also follows a societal trend of businesses transitioning away from in-person interactions for the convenience of online or over the phone. The agency has conducted recertifications for public assistance over the phone for approximately three years.
Jennifer Hartfiel, section chief in FAA1, said the agency conducts about 120-150 intake interviews a day.
She said applicants who forget to call in or otherwise miss their phone interview will be able to reschedule and will have 30 days from their application date to complete the phone interview. Those who mistakenly show up at the agency for interviews will have options – calling in from their personal phone, calling in from the agency’s phone bank, or, if they insist, a face-to-face interview. Applicants who do not have enough minutes on their phone to complete the interview can use the phone bank or ask for an in-person interview.
As is done in many businesses, the agency will have a thorough verification process (personal questions) for those who call in to guard against fraud.