Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director Sheila Hogan Thursday announced steps the agency is taking to ensure Montanans continue to have access to various agency programs and services, while still protecting the health and safety of the clients and staff related to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Hogan said in response to COVID-19 concerns, select DPHHS offices with services that require face-to-face interaction with clients and staff will be closed beginning Friday, March 20, 2020 until further notice.
These closures will impact the Offices of Public Assistance, Child and Family Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, Vital Statistics, Women, Infants and Children, Child Support Enforcement, and the Developmental Disabilities Program.
Here’s the temporary plan going forward:
Offices of Public Assistance (OPA)
DPHHS will shift additional staff to serve clients through the Public Assistance Helpline at 1-888-706-1535. Clients are able apply for SNAP food assistance, TANF cash assistance or health care coverage.
Clients can check their SNAP benefits at 1-866-850-1556.
The website apply.mt.gov is also another option. By opening an online account, clients can apply for, renew, report changes and check their benefits online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Clients can also submit applications via the OPA fax number at 1-877-418-4533 or by mail at Field Offices of Public Assistance, PO Box 202925, Helena MT 59620.
A tutorial on how to use apply.mt.gov is available on the agency YouTube page.
Child and Family Services Division (CFSD)
The only change at this time will be to family visitations. CFSD staff will be reaching out to families on their current caseload to arrange the best way to hold visitations through technology such as Skype or Facetime.
CFSD staff will continue to investigate reports of child abuse and neglect, and deliver services and respond to the needs of children and families.
Also, CFSD staff will be reaching out to all families in their caseload to make sure cell phone contact information is current.
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, please call Centralized Intake at 1-866-820-5437.
Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED)
Child Support payments will continue to be processed and disbursed during this time.
Parents and employers are encouraged to make their child support payments electronically at https://app.mt.gov/csp/ [lnks.gd] .
Disability Employment and Transition Division (DETD)
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Blind and Low Vision instructional staff will continue to support Montanans with disabilities by providing employment, transition, and telecommunication access services via telephone or online where appropriate.
DETD staff will be reaching out to consumers on their current caseload to arrange the best way to continue services.
DETD contact information: (877) 296-1197 (toll-free consumer line); (406) 444-2590 (voice/TTY); or email email@example.com .
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
WIC offices will be closed to the public. Services will be available remotely and benefits will continue to be issued for anyone currently on the program.
Clients may reach out their local WIC clinic ( www.signupwic.com [lnks.gd] ) or call the state office to inquire about WIC benefits.
The state office may be reached at 1-800-433-4298 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . WIC Benefits issued on EBT cards will continue to be used as usual.
Anyone experiencing difficulty with getting formula at their local store is encouraged to contact the state office.
Montana Office of Vital Records
The Montana Office of Vital Records, located at 111 North Sanders in Helena, will continue to serve the public via phone and online for birth and death certificate needs.
Business needs for clerk and recorders, clerk of district courts, coroners, funeral homes, hospitals and midwives will continue as normal.
Development Disabilities Program (DDP)
DDP will continue to support Montanans via telephone, video chat, online and via individually scheduled meetings as needed. Individuals and families are encouraged to stay in close contact with the case manager and/or regional administrator.
Visit https://dphhs.mt.gov/dsd/developmentaldisabilities/DevelopmentalDisabilitiesRegionalOffices [lnks.gd] for local contact information.