Income maintenance caseworkers working for government health and human services agencies interview clients who need help paying for housing, living expenses and health care. Public programs and agencies use the information they gather to determine whether someone is financially eligible to receive services or benefits. For example, a Caseworker I might process applications for people who request cash, medical or and food and nutrition help.
Applying the Essential Knowledge
Income maintenance caseworkers need basic knowledge of office procedures and how to use office equipment and computers. They need to know what forms to use when they interview clients and process their applications. In serving clients' needs, caseworkers must stay current on changing rules and regulations relating to agency procedures and client eligibility. Math skills also are needed.
Developing the Required Skill Sets
To do her job effectively, an income maintenance caseworker must be able to prioritize tasks, manage time effectively and keep accurate records. Since the job requires working with people from various backgrounds, strong communication skills are necessary. Before a caseworker can make the appropriate referrals, she must have a clear understanding of the agency's programs and what each has to offer so she can explain the programs to clients. The workload can be heavy, and a caseworker must meet constant deadlines.
Getting the Required Training
Although employers sometimes hire caseworkers who have completed a minimum of an associate degree, many seek those with four-year college degrees and relevant work experience. Paralegal training or a degree in social services, business administration or secretarial science can be helpful. In lieu of education, some agencies hire applicants with several years experience in a paraprofessional position where they interact with the public or provide administrative support.
Earning a Competitive Salary
The median annual earnings for social workers, including those who assess clients' needs and then help them apply for and receive benefits provided by community and government resources, was $56,510 in May 2013, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Half earn an annual income below that amount. Workers in entry-level positions typically earn less to start. Like other specialty areas, the annual salaries paid to Income Maintenance Caseworkers I vary depending on industry, education, number of years' experience, and city or geographic region.