Effective JANUARY 5, advice 2012 Hancock County Job and Family Services Family Stability Unit became part of a new call center phone line.  The toll free call center line is 1-855-275-3537 (1-855-ASK-DJFS).   Calls will be answered Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM excluding,  government holidays.

Customers with questions or needing an application interview for Ohio Works First (cash assistance), Food Assistance and generic Medicaid are being referred to the new call center. Customers in receipt of Medicaid for Nursing Home or Waiver services should continue to contact the agency directly at 419-425-6375.

Customers may call the toll free number to speak with a customer service representative. Customer Service will be able to assist consumers with case changes, case status questions and to answer general questions regarding benefits.

Customers should call the toll free number to interview for benefits by phone after a completed application has been submitted.  Customers should also contact the toll free number to complete their re-determination appointments.  All applications/re-determinations will be processed by Eligibility Workers.

Applications for assistance may be submitted online at: http://ODJFSBenefits.ohio.gov  or submitted at our local office: 7814 County Road 140,  Findlay, OH 45840.

The call center is part of the Collabor8 Pilot project.  Collabor8 is a collaborative effort between seven counties; Delaware, Hancock, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Sandusky and Wood.

Job and Family Services Plans Collaboration Effort

The Hancock County commissioners on Wednesday authorized Hancock County Job and Family Services to enter into a joint program with the Job and Family Services agencies of seven other counties for the purpose of sharing resources.

The program, designed to reduce costs and provide more efficient services to clients, is called “Collabor8,” and will include a shared call center as well as shared Web services between counties.

Counties involved in the collaboration include Hancock, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Sandusky and Wood. Seneca County will also join the program in its second phase.

Judy Wauford, director of Hancock County Job and Family Services, has said the agency is moving toward more telephone- and Internet-based services, as opposed to face-to-face services, as a way to reduce costs.

Job and Family Services has seen its funding decrease over the past three years, Wauford has said. As of early this month, the staff at Job and Family Services had been reduced by 32 percent since 2008, through attrition and layoffs, in an attempt to cut costs.

The agency is also bracing for additional funding cuts when the new state budget takes effect in July.

Wauford told the commissioners Wednesday that the new collaboration with the other counties will result in cost savings, but she’s not yet sure what the amount of the savings will be.

“The project’s costs are the only thing I have any concern about. I don’t know what they’re going to be yet. We are going to share them according to each individual county’s requirements. There is no specific dollar amount attached to it at this point,” Wauford said.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will pay part of the cost of combining the counties’ services, Wauford said.

(Article By LINSEY MAUGHAN, Staff Writer. Reprinted with Permission From the Courier/June 23, 2011)