By: Loren S. Casuto, Esq. – Director of Operations

With unemployment at levels not seen since the Great Depression, the need for government benefits has grown from a stream into a flood. We are treated to daily pictures of food banks overwhelmed and unemployment offices incapable of keeping up. All this has made things even more difficult for those who are seeking federal, state and local benefits due to disability. The massive increase of those in need has caused slowdowns with other offices, especially as states shift employees from other departments to unemployment and food assistance.

The most important thing to remember about all benefits in the COVID era is that work continues. At all levels the process remains the same despite physical offices being closed. While more people are applying than ever before due to the economic situation, they can feel comfortable that their benefits will come. Applications are accepted and processed, documentation is received and redeterminations continues. The only difference is that they’re being done over the internet or the phone. It will require patience and the work of a good partner to help navigate the process, but that maybe one of the only signs of normality during an abnormal time period. 

The benefit utilized by our clients where online or over the phone isn’t sufficient is In-Home Support Services (IHSS). The process and situation are no different than any other benefit during this period. Everything is done over the phone, fax line or internet including completing the necessary forms, applying for Medi-Cal and initial determination meetings and assessments. As with everything else, no face to face contact is needed.

That however doesn’t apply to finding the right caregiver. There is no good formula for what makes a caregiver-client relationship work. Obviously, there is a long list of required qualities including compassionate, diligent, focused, hard-working and kind hearted. All that being said, the primarily determination on what makes for a good caregiver-patient relationship is the connection between both. Much like any relationship it can’t be determined by any means except face to face meetings and time together. This is not to imply that caregivers who don’t mesh with a client are not excellent caregivers, it just means they’re not a fit with that client. No different than any other business or personal relationship, sometimes there’s just no spark or there’s no good way to establish chemistry. 

Just because the world has changed and more people are in need doesn’t prevent patients from getting the support required. As with everything in this day and age, the process remains the same even if the method has changed drastically. Face to Face meetings for the vast majority of things will not be happening. In the end for certain aspects, nothing can change its importance or in having a face that you can count on like Rehabilitation Care Coordination.