Public Benefits Specialist
Denver (United States of America)
The IRC in Denver’s approach is client-centered, empowerment-focused, trauma-informed, and multigenerational. Advancing racial equity and narrowing the gender gap are priorities for the IRC in Denver. The team’s efforts in this space are ongoing and evolving. Current work is focused on participating in learning and dialogue to deepen understanding and awareness of systemic inequities and systems of oppression; building an internal organizational culture that reflects a commitment to antiracism and gender equality for clients as well as staff, volunteers, and the broader community; engaging clients more deeply in making decisions that affect them, whether at the individual, household, program, or organizational level; using our power and influence to advocate for rules, policies, and laws that address inequities experienced by the people we serve and seek systemic change for the benefit of all who are impacted by these inequities; undertaking intentional efforts to shift dynamics and promote power sharing between leadership and the broader team as well as between staff and clients; and examining and changing practices in recruitment, recognition, and other areas of employee engagement and talent development to prioritize access to opportunity and work toward full inclusion and belonging for clients, staff, and volunteers who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQI, as well as those who have lived experience as refugees and immigrants.
IRC in Denver seeks to foster the best possible initial resettlement experience, with an emphasis on helping clients successfully navigate systems and processes while building skills that promote self-sufficiency and long-term community integration. A member of the Resettlement Team, the Public Benefits Specialist is a key contributor to these efforts. Working closely with all departments, the Public Benefits Specialist facilitates timely access to benefits (cash, food, health, childcare, and other resources based on eligibility) while clients work toward economic self-reliance. Together with colleagues on the Economic Empowerment team, this position also ensures that clients participating in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) meet program requirements by helping them identify, access, and complete pre-employment work activities according to state and county TANF guidelines. This position collaborates with colleagues focused on employment and financial coaching, education, and lending to implement an approach known as the bundled services model for financial capability, which has proved to result in greater positive gains in individual and household-level measures of financial wellbeing.
•Supports screening for eligibility for public benefits, including cash, food, health, childcare, and other available resources.
•Assists clients with county interviews, reapplying for public benefits and picking up benefits cards.
•Trains clients on use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to access resources (cash, food, bus passes, etc.).
•Works with families referred for childcare to research prospective providers, arrange facility tours, submit applications, understand check-in/check-out procedures, and learn related bus routes.
•Coaches clients to build understanding and skills that will support their capacity to assume responsibility for routine maintenance of their public benefits.
•Provides support in capturing and reporting work activity hours for TANF cases.
•Performs administrative tasks, including maintaining and updating client case files, filing documentation, and completing data entry.
•Documents service provision and completes reports in the Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) database.
•Complies with all federal, state, local and IRC contractual requirements, including confidentiality requirements under HIPAA.
•Fosters positive working relationships with county offices, colleague resettlement agencies, refugee service providers and other relevant entities.
•Attends meetings with the Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP) and/or other state and local partners as requested.
•Performs other duties as assigned.
KEY WORKING RELATIONSHIPS:
Position Reports to: Public Benefits Coordinator
Position Directly Supervises: N/A, may provide some supervision of interns and volunteers assigned to assist clients with public benefits
•Undergraduate degree or equivalent experience preferred; may be substituted with equivalent work and/or lived experience.
•The skills and knowledge typically acquired through 2+ years of relevant work experience, ideally including responsibilities in social services or a similar non-profit, grant-funded environment.
•Experience working with refugees or in refugee resettlement is highly desirable.
•Knowledge of TANF, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Colorado Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) and Medicaid preferred.
•Ability to prioritize and manage time effectively.
•Excellent attention to detail required, with a demonstrated ability to interpret and navigate complex and interconnected state and federal contracts simultaneously while also maintaining program compliance.
•Commitment to providing high quality services in support of clients, in accordance with standards set forth by IRC, county partners, and the State of Colorado.
•Ability to think critically, exercise sound judgment, and proactively seek solutions to problems clients encounter in accessing public benefits and navigating related processes and systems.
•Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are required, including fluency in both writing and speaking English.
•Adept in working cross-culturally and with limited English proficient individuals.
•Bilingual in one or more languages of the local refugee population preferred (such as Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Dari, Farsi, French, Kiswahili, Pashto, Russian, Spanish, and/or Tigrinya).
•Proficient in Microsoft Office programs, internet applications and relational database use, including comfort using online platforms to submit benefits applications and check status of applications and benefits.
•Advanced Excel skills strongly preferred.
•Experience in Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS) database and the PEAK platform preferred.
•Use of a reliable personal vehicle required with valid driver’s license and current insurance, with the ability to travel regularly throughout the service delivery area.
•The IRC in Denver strives to offer a positive working environment, with intentional efforts to ensure that it is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible for all.
•At present, remote and hybrid remote/in-person work modifications are in place due to ensure staff and client safety given public health guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic and return to work planning is underway.
•All staff are required to adhere to IRC’s COVID risk mitigation policies. In some cases, these policies may be stricter than those imposed at the federal, state, or local level.
•This role entails frequent travel in and around the Denver metro area to transport clients, facilitate service delivery and represent the IRC with clients and community partners.
•Hours outside of typical office hours, including weekends and evenings, is sometimes required. Overtime may be required.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:
This position is a full-time, regular, non-exempt position scheduled at 37.5 hours per week. Compensation starts at $19.50 per hour, with eligibility for overtime in accordance with state and federal laws. As a full-time regular employee, the Public Benefits Specialist is eligible for the IRC’s comprehensive benefits package, which includes:
•Generous paid time off with 20 days of paid vacation per year, 10 days of paid sick leave per year (not inclusive of paid COVID leave), and at least 9 paid holidays per year.
•Outstanding medical, dental, and vision care benefits with low employee contribution premiums.
•Optional health care and dependent care flexible savings accounts and commuter benefits programs.
•Life, accident, short-term disability, and long-term disability insurance.
•A 403(b) retirement savings plan with employer base contributions and matching contributions.
•A comprehensive employee assistance and resilience program.
•A commitment to employee professional development, including an individual staff development account, participation in communities of practice and other fora, talent and leadership development offerings, and occasional opportunities to take on special assignments and roles to represent the IRC in Denver with IRC’s network of offices across the U.S.
•Business travel medical insurance, access to Guardian Nurses, and more.
IRC- leading the way from harm to home
We are an equal opportunity employer, and we value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.