RESOLUTION NO. 20 - 36
|Persons in Household||Gross Monthly Household Income at 100% of FPL||Gross Annual Household Income at 100% of FPL||Gross Monthly Household Income at 200% of FPL||Gross Annual Household Income at 200% of FPL|
|Each additional person add:||$374||$4,480||$746||$8,960|
5. Proof of Assets:
For financial assistance requests, applicants must not have available liquid assets above $4,000.00. Liquid assets include the applicant’s savings and checking accounts, and an entire bank statement showing the past 60 days deposits, withdrawals, and charges (or statement received within the last 60 days) for each account shall be submitted for verification. A statement from an EPPI or SSI card may be used to verify assets if no bank account is held. Assessment of liquid assets will be included in the screening by 211 staff.
6. Documentation of Qualifying Emergency Event- COVID-19:
Applicants must demonstrate that their current emergency situation is a result of the impact of COVID-19, and may include:
- a. Layoff or furlough notice
- b. Proof of reduction in hours
- c. Loss of job due toCOVID-19
- d. Demonstration/notice of reduction in force by business
- e. Demonstration that employer office/place of business has closed
7. Documentation of Assistance:
- a. Frequency and Amount of Assistance:
- i. Individuals may not receive emergency financial assistance more than one time under the Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance program.
- ii. The maximum amount of assistance available to an individual or family is $4,000.00.
- iii. Applicants may request assistance of more than one type. Requests for multiple types of assistance should be bundled when appropriate, considering the immediate health and safety needs of the applicant.
- b. Basic Types of Assistance
- i. Payment of overdue rent or mortgage to avoid eviction or foreclosure.
- Required documentation for rent: Eviction notice or late notice listing the amount past due and a copy of lease. If landlord is an individual and not a management or leasing company, effort must be made to verify property ownership in the Pinellas County Property Appraiser database at www.pcpao.org. The search may be done by owner name or property address. A W-9 must be provided. If the applicant receives Section 8 Tenant- Based Assistance, a Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP Contract) is required in addition to the lease agreement.
- Required documentation where a relationship exists between landlord and tenant, or where landlord and tenant share a unit: documentation of past rents paid (bank statements, cancelled checks) and/or documentation that the landlord holds the property to be a rental unit and pays taxes (tax return, documentation of rental income).
- ii. Payment of overdue utility bills (water, sewer,electricity, and/or gas) to prevent shutoff resulting in unhealthy living conditions and/or to prevent eviction,or payment of overdue telephone and/or internet service needed for employment in a “work from home” setting.
- Required documentation: copy of utility shut-off notice or late/overdue bills; documentation of remote employment situation.
- i. Payment of overdue rent or mortgage to avoid eviction or foreclosure.
- c. Ineligible Items
- i. Legal fees or any expenses related to criminal activity including court costs, citations,restitution, child support, or alimony
- ii. Telephone and Internet not required for maintaining verified employment, or education
- iii. Moving Expenses
- iv. Alcohol, tobacco,firearms or lottery tickets
- v. Expenses related to immigration or returning to country of origin
- vi. Gift Cards
- vii. Insurance premiums
- viii. Money orders
- ix. Any transaction at a financial institution using a purchasing card (i.e., ATM)
- x. Property taxes
- xi. Payment to a landlord or utility company for the same residence, same expense, and same time period, by a different, otherwise eligible, applicant such as a roommate
- xii. Specific to CARES Act guidance
- Expenses for State share of Medicaid
- Damages covered by insurance
- Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any federal program.
Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance is administered through an agreement with 211. Staff will answer calls for this program Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 6:00pm. If a holiday falls on a weekday, the program will operate the same hours.
211 will maintain screening and eligibility information within their call center database for review and audit by the County. 211will maintain a full, separate accounting of all dispersed funds associated with each instance of assistance. All dispersed funds will be reconciled to 211 bank statements on a monthly basis or more frequently as required by the County.
A. Initial Screening:
When an individual contacts 211 for Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance, 211 call center specialists will conduct a brief interview and/or coordinate screening information and documentation by text to assess the client’s needs. (Note: 211 staff and volunteers are trained on the Agency’s conflict of interest policy which prohibits staff from assisting family or friends.) The information provided by an applicant may be evaluated for accuracy. Any false information provided or multiple inconsistencies in documentation may be grounds for denial or ineligibility for future assistance.
- 1. 211 staff will obtain demographic information, documentation required to determine eligibility,details on the emergency need, amount of request, vendor details, payment method, and other information and enter this information into the call center database.
- 2. 211 staff will coordinate appropriate referrals to additional community programs and services during initial screening.
B. Eligibility Verification:
211 staff is responsible for ensuring all documentation necessary for verification,processing, and approval of request is collected. Failure of an applicant to provide any information or additional contact within seven (7) days of the initial request may result in closure of the pending case. Cases with continued contact and document submission by an applicant will remain in pending status if funding remains available. Please note that this program has a limited amount of funding available and no further applications may be completed or processed once funds are exhausted.
- 1. 211 staff is responsible for obtaining and scanning all documentation into their database to verify citizenship, residency, income, identification, qualifying emergency event, and need prior to submitting any request for payment for eligible items.
- 2. All approvals and denials are recorded in database.
C. Approval Process:
All requests for approval are handled once all required documentation is received and eligibility is confirmed.
- 1. Requests for assistance at $3,000.00 and above are transmitted electronically to the 211 Executive Director and Pinellas County Human Services Director or designee for joint approval when all other eligibility documentation has been submitted.
- a. When necessary, urgent items should be paid immediately upon receiving sufficient documentation (immediate health/safety needs, utility shutoffs, evictions) while items which may take longer to complete may submitted separately.
- b. The Level 3 approval process would continue to apply to items and bundles $3,000.00 and above.
- 2. If a request is DENIED,211 staff will contact the applicant directly within 2 business days and notify them of the reason for denial and provide other referrals or resources, as available.
D. Payment Process:
- 1. Online payments of approved items are made directly to the vendor using purchasing cards issued in the 211 call center specialists’ name. If the vendor cannot be paid or the item cannot be purchased online, a check request is submitted for payment directly to the vendor. 211 processes check requests two times weekly. In rare instances, a restricted debit card may be provided directly to the client for the approved amount. All cards are time limited and must be returned to 211 with receipts within seven days.
- 2. 211 staff is responsible for tracking and reporting call center data, client demographic, eligibility and expenditure data, performance measures and outcomes. Most of this information will be reported from their database. Human Services will have direct access to the 211 database for ad-hoc reports as needed.
- 3. 211 will request reimbursement from the County on a monthly basis for staff and
- a. This invoice will be submitted concurrently with invoices from any other operations contracts between211 and the County by the fifteenth (15th) of the month for the prior month’s expenses.
- b. All requests for reimbursement will consist of a cover letter signed by an authorized Agency representative and will include supporting documentation including invoices, receipts, pay stubs, training logs and any other documentation to verify the expenditures.
- c. Invoices are reviewed and reconciled by Human Services prior to approval for payment.
- 4. A portion of the funding for the Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance pool will be advanced to 211 and will beheld in a separate bank account.
- a. A separate invoice will be submitted for the assistance pool, and will consist of a cover letter signed by an authorized Agency representative, supporting documentation with detailed client specific data and receipts to justify eligibility and expenditures and any repeat requests, a copy of the monthly bank account statement for the bank account in which the pool is held, and a report of the director-approved exception expenditures for the month. Backup documentation may be submitted electronically in a secure manner.
- b. Specifically for rent requests: in addition to the proof of emergency need and copy of a lease, 211will also submit a copy of the vendor’s W-9 form and the cancelled check signed by the vendor with the monthly invoice for reconciliation.
- i. The name on the W-9 MUST match the name on the cancelled check.
- ii. For any Director-approved payments, an email of each Director’s approval shall be attached to the client backup documentation.
- c. Any supporting documentation submitted by a client MUST have the client’s name visible and legible on the document.
- 5. Upon reconciliation and approval of the monthly or semi-monthly invoice for the Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance pool, the County will reimburse 211 for expenditures until the entire assistance pool contracted amount is reached. 211 will then continue to submit separate monthly invoices but will draw down against the assistance pool until it is extinguished, or the term of the contract is reached. In the event that funds remain in the Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance pool at the end of the program or contract term, the remainder shall be remitted to the County with thirty (30) days of final reconciliation.
E. Use of Encryption:
Em ails containing personal identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI), or other sensitive information about a client or caller should be encrypted prior to be sent to any and all receivers. Emails should be encrypted to the recipient when the following items are included:
1. Personal identifiable information: client names, social security numbers or cards, dates of birth, gender,and/or zip codes
2. Personal Health Information: medication, diagnostic, treatment, or disease identification. Sensitive Information: case or call details, names of minors, income information, leases, utility bills, bank statements, addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses.
F. Appeals, Quality Assurance, Fraud, and Other Concerns:
- 1. Program Criteria: Appeals or concerns with program criteria shall be addressed to the County. Upon receipt of a concern, 211 shall issue a letter to the applicant directing them to contact the Pinellas County Human Services Financial Assistance Contract Manager.
- 2. Fraudulent Concerns:
- a. Human Services Review:Human Services will perform quality assurance on a random sampling of participants as indicated in Section F (2) above. If any participants are found to have committed fraud in obtaining financial assistance from the County,the County will notify 211.
- b. 211 Review: If, in the exercise of their contractual responsibilities, 211 becomes aware of a fraudulent case, 211 shall notify the County as soon as possible.
- c. Upon discovery of a fraudulent case, the participant may be prohibited from further assistance through Human Services. 211 shall notify the participant in writing of the finding, request reimbursement of any funds received in a fraudulent manner and notify the participant of their future ineligibility.
- d. Following notification to the client by 211, Pinellas County may provide written notification to the participant of the findings and their subsequent ineligibility for all Human Services programs.
- e. Fraud Rebuttal: Appeals or concerns with a disqualification due to a finding of fraud shall be addressed to the County. Upon receipt of a concern, 211 shall issue a letter to the applicant directing them to contact the Pinellas County Human Services Financial Assistance Contract Manager. Eligibility Determination: Appeals or concerns regarding the eligibility determination of an applicant shall be submitted to the Exceptions Committee and are subject to Directors’ review. All decisions of the Exceptions Committee are final.
- 3. Stop Check Fee: If a check has not been cashed for a period exceeding 90 days, 211 shall make attempts to contact the payee, and may issue a stop-check order through the bank at a fee of$17 per check to be reimbursed through the program.
G. Conflict of Interest:
- 1. Any individual homeowner,property manager, or landlord, who is also employed by or affiliated with Pinellas County Human Services or a Human Services contracted Provider Organization which works with vulnerable populations through a program designed to assist such populations, is prohibited from receiving payment directly or indirectly from the sale or rental of real property, personal property, or personal services, from participants in the subject program. This does not include registered non-profit organizations that serve as owners, property managers, or landlords for low-income or homeless housing.
- 2. This section does not preclude an employee or affiliated individual who is otherwise eligible as a client for this program from receiving assistance, in accordance with all other policies, procedures and section 112.313(6) Florida Statutes.
A. Performance Measures
- 1. Total number/ % of emergency financial assistance calls and texts received
- 2. Number / % dropped or abandoned calls
- 3. Average talk time
- 4. Average call wait time
- 5. Average number of calls by day and time and by call center specialist
- 6. Time to process request(enter into system, receive approval)
- 7. Number and percentage of:
- a. Reasons for financial emergency (COVID-19 impacts)
- b. All callers answered by211and by volunteer or assistance staffing
- c. All callers assessed for emergency financial assistance by 211and by volunteer or assistance staffing (approved and denied)
- d. Clients served by type and amount of assistance
- e. Program met and unmet needs of callers
- f. Unique callers by need
- B. Immediate Outcome Examples: [Measured by actual requests approved and successful
payment of assistance to vendors]
- 1. Number of individuals and families that bridged utilities expenses due to Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance
- 2. Number of individuals and families that bridged housing payments due to Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance
- 3. Number of individuals and families that received assistance for other critical needs by type.
- 4. Number of individuals and families referred and linked to other supportive community resources
- 5. Number of pending individual and family assistance cases
- 6. Number of individuals and families that were not determined eligible by reason
- 7.Additional TBD
C. Operational Tracking Reports:
- 1. Daily assistance cases paid and pending cases report
- 2. Daily ‘encumbered’ Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance pool amount
- 3. Daily Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance pool balance report (paid out versus remaining balance)
- 4. Daily and/or biweekly advance pool bank statement
- 5. Direct client services expenditure report with itemized purchases and remaining available balance
- 6. Invoices accompanied by detailed documentation of direct client expenditures
- 7. Report of Direct or approved exception expenditures
- 8. Reports of program performance measures