Note: In an effort to highlight the prevention programs that are available in Mifflin County, Mifflin County Communities That Care (CTC) is offering a new series that will focus on one service provider each month. CTC offers this information with the purpose of strengthening our families and community.

I am Tina Miller, a Casework Supervisor at the Mifflin County Assistance office/Department of Public Welfare (DPW). I care about my community and the people in it and the children who will shape the future. In this day and age children have a lot of peer pressure and obstacles to overcome.

The Mifflin County Assistance Office provides cash, and medical assistance and LIHEAP (fuel assistance) and food stamp benefits to individuals and/or families who are in need. We determine eligibility based on federal and state guidelines. Our benefits are determined on household income – some services also take into consideration resources one owns, i.e. checking and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, CD’s, IRA’s, vehicle values, non-resident property. Many years ago it used to be if you wanted cash assistance and you owned a home DPW would put a lien on your property that you lived in and repay the cash assistance that you received if you ever sold your home. That policy was abolished in the late 1970’s or early 80’s. It is still a misconception to this day.

The medical assistance programs we have range from newborns to the elderly and cover healthy individuals to individuals with catastrophic illnesses, alcohol and drug problems, and children with behavioral issues that are in need of psychological treatment and/or medication. There are also various levels of coverage depending upon which program you fit into. You can have other health insurance and still apply for medical assistance. We work with the Pennsylvania Insurance Dept. CHIP and adultBasic programs – currently referred to as a Healthcare Handshake. If someone applies for CHIP but CHIP contractors feel your income is low enough the children could qualify for medical assistance they send the application to the county assistance office and vice versa. If we reject someone’s application for medical assistance due to excess income we send the application to the contractors of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. This applies to adults as well as the adultBasic program. This is set up so those who apply do not have to complete two sets of applications – one for Medical assistance and one for CHIP or adultBasic. However, you cannot have any health insurance to qualify under either of these programs, CHIP or adultBasic.

Our cash assistance programs are tailored to make cash assistance able-bodied participants self-sufficient. The idea is to get them trained and out into the job market with skills necessary to obtain and maintain employment. Cash assistance is also available to persons who are temporarily or permanently disabled and cannot work based on federal and state guidelines.

The Food Stamp program is based on income and expenses for shelter, utilities and child care and is also a federally funded program.

I’m working with Communities That Care (CTC) and Systems of Care (SOC) as an effort to bring human service agencies together and work for the good of the community. We are working toward the goal of not having each agency duplicate services. Their goals also mirror the goals of the Dept. of Public Welfare – try to keep families intact, healthy and responsible – to work on problems while the children are young so they grow up to be happy, healthy adults and can contribute to the community as well.