LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News Release) – As the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) prepares to implement the Arkansas Works work and community engagement requirement June 1, the agency is rolling out new efforts to help beneficiaries get ready for the changes.
“It’s important to us that people have a clear understanding of what is expected of them once the work requirement is live and they have the support they need,” said DHS Director Cindy Gillespie. “We especially wanted to take steps to address potential barriers to reporting work activities, such as a lack of reading skills and a lack of home access to the Internet.”
To address these issues, DHS has created a process that allows beneficiaries to designate a trusted individual to help them report their work activities or exemptions, just as they would today with family, insurance carriers and hospital financial staff when applying for Arkansas Works.
The designated person will be called a registered reporter and will be required to complete a short online training that explains what information is required, how often work activities/exemptions need to be reported, and the importance of keeping people’s information confidential. Registered reporters will not have access to a beneficiary’s Social Security number.
Both Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield and Arkansas Health and Wellness, two of the insurance carriers that cover Arkansas Works recipients, have voluntarily agreed to have registered reporters available to assist beneficiaries. For in-person assistance from DHS, beneficiaries can go to their local county offices.
Through a contract with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC), people also can get over-the-phone help creating their online accounts by clicking here and linking their accounts to their Arkansas Works coverage.
It is important that beneficiaries create and link their online account so they can report their work activities.
This week, at the request of DHS, AFMC began proactively calling beneficiaries who will be subject to the work requirement June 1. The caller’s goal is to make sure beneficiaries understand what they need to do to comply with the new work requirement and to ensure that they have a current email and mailing address on file. The caller may ask beneficiaries to confirm their email addresses, but AFMC will never ask for protected information such as Social Security or Medicaid numbers or any passwords.
In 2018, Arkansas Works beneficiaries who are 30-49 years old will be subject to the work and community engagement requirement unless they are pregnant, disabled, already working 80 hours a month, or have some other exemption.
DHS will begin rolling beneficiaries into the requirement several thousand people at a time between June and September.
Beneficiaries who will be subject to the work requirement June 1 will get a letter next week notifying them of their status.
This week DHS also mailed letters to all Arkansas Works beneficiaries between the ages of 30 and 49, regardless of their work requirement status, that included a list of at least two sites in every county that have free Internet-accessible computers for use. All DHS county offices have computers available.
Arkansas Works beneficiaries with BlueCross BlueShield coverage who need assistance from a registered reporter can call (800) 800-4298. Beneficiaries with Ambetter (Arkansas Health and Wellness) coverage who need assistance from a registered reporter can call (877) 617-0390.
To become a registered reporter, you will need to review training on reporting work activities and exemptions and linking accounts. You’ll also need access to the authorization, acknowledgment, and revocation forms.
To learn more about the AFMC calls, click here. To learn how to create an online account through www.access.arkansas.gov and link it to a beneficiary’s Arkansas Works coverage, you can watch this DHS video for step-by-step instructions or follow this written guide that will walk you through the process.
More information about ARWorks can be found on the DHS home page by clicking the “Arkansas Works” button on the right-hand side of the page at www.humanservices.arkansas.gov.