Homeless Appeals Specialist - Benefits Eligibility & Referral Social Worker (C)

Job Type
Dept. of Housing and Community Development
Job Description

Official Title: Benefits Eligibility & Referral Social Worker (C)

Functional Title: Homeless Appeals Specialist

Primary Location: United States-Massachusetts-Boston-1010 Massachusetts Ave

Job: Community and Social Services

Agency: Department of Housing & Community Development

Schedule: Full-time

Shift: Day

Job Posting: Nov 7, 2019, 11:14:05 AM

Number of Openings: 1

Salary: $57,198.44 - $77,710.62 Yearly

Bargaining Unit: 08-SEIU - Local 509 - Social/Rehabilitation

Confidential: No 


The Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) seeks qualified applicants for the position of Benefit Eligibility & Referral Social Worker C (BERS C) within the Housing Stabilization Divisions’ field offices.  DHCD is within the Housing and Economic Development Secretariat and its work touches the lives of all Massachusetts residents.  DHCD's mission is to strengthen cities, towns and neighborhoods to enhance the quality of life of Massachusetts residents by providing leadership, professional assistance and financial resources to promote safe, decent, affordable housing opportunities, economic vitality of communities and sound municipal management.

Our ideal candidate is an experienced professional with a strong background in dealing with people in crisis and with the ability to interpret and understand complex regulations and policy to determine program eligibility accurately.  The overall objective for this position is to prepare cases for administrative appeal hearings and represent the Department at these hearings.


1. Prepare cases for administrative appeal hearing and represent the Department at such hearings.   Track each appeal decision by region and implement the appeals outcome.

2. Conducts in person and telephonic screening and assessments on households experiencing housing crisis to determine appropriate action including referral to diversion services and temporary emergency shelter placement.

3. Processes Emergency Assistance (EA) applications for households that are in need of shelter placement.

4. Responds to client requests for services in a compassionate and professional manner.  Assists eligible clients in obtaining assistance by referring them to appropriate agencies including the Department of Transitional Assistance if clients need benefits such as transitional assistance, food stamps (SNAP) and/or medical assistance and encourage clients to participate in programs for which they are eligible.

5. Initiates and maintains communication with other community agencies, shelter providers and state agencies serving clients to ensure that needed resources are made available to ensure permanent housing placements and long-term housing stability.

6. Authorizes support services such as transportation to clients and/or providers of services to clients by completing the authorization form.

7. Reports suspected cases of child, elder, and/or spousal abuse to appropriate authorities by notifying the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and other agencies to assist the affected party and deter future abuse.

8. Organizes and maintains applicant/client records in a manner that ensures ready availability and quick access to case information.

9. Assesses the special needs of clients to be considered in requesting and making appropriate shelter/motel placements and refers and coordinates with other agencies and resources to address and assist with medical issues, physical handicaps, mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, education considerations for school age children and other pertinent issues.

10. May exercise direct supervision and is responsible for the overall performance of the unit in the absence of the Regional Homeless Coordinator Supervisor.  Completes special projects in accordance with Department policy and established work expectations and represents the Department at appeal hearings.  Performs related duties as required.

11. This position will require in-state travel and incumbent may float to other area offices as assigned.



1. Knowledge of the laws, rules, regulations, programs, policies, procedures, specifications, standards and guidelines governing agency operations and assigned unit activities.

2. Knowledge of the types and uses of agency forms.

3. Knowledge of available referral sources for providing services to clients, including available community support and social service resources.

4. Knowledge of the social and economic problems of minorities and the economically disadvantaged and behavioral problems which form barriers to employment.

5. Knowledge of common individual and/or family income and assets.

6. Knowledge of the principles, methods and techniques of customer service.

7. Knowledge of the principles and correct usage of the English language involved in writing narratives, including grammar, spelling, sentence structure, word meaning and punctuation.

8. Knowledge of basic mathematics.

9. Knowledge of interviewing techniques.

10. Ability to acquire information on the content of a wide variety of occupations common to the public and private sectors.

11. Ability to read, interpret, apply and explain the provisions of the laws, rules, regulations, policies, procedures, specifications, standards and guidelines governing agency operations and assigned unit activities.

12. Ability to read, interpret and apply Federal, State and local social services programs, laws, statutes and regulations that affect eligibility for financial assistance, such as worker’s compensation, social security and unemployment insurance.

13. Ability to gather and assemble items of information in accordance with established procedures such as questioning and observing individuals and by examining records and documents.

14. Ability to use investigative techniques in conducting interviews and obtaining pertinent factual information.

15. Ability to utilize more complex applications of the laws, rules, regulations, programs, policies, procedures, specifications, standards and guidelines governing agency operations and assigned unit activities.

16. Ability to understand and apply knowledge of the principles, practices and techniques of supervision in order to demonstrate ability to supervise in the absence of the unit supervisor, which includes planning, organizing, assigning and coordinating work according to the nature of the job to be accomplished, the capabilities of subordinates and available resources.

17. Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, such as giving written and oral instructions in a precise, understandable manner, accurately recording information provided orally, and writing concisely with a clear expression of thoughts and the development of ideas in a logical sequence.

18. Ability to prepare clear, concise and logical narratives.

19. Ability to maintain accurate records on information provided either orally or in writing.

20. Ability to perform and/or understand and explain arithmetic computations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) with accuracy.

21. Ability to work accurately with names, numbers, codes and/or symbols.

22. Ability to determine the applicability of client data to draw conclusions and make appropriate recommendations.

23. Ability to deal tactfully and establish and maintain harmonious working relationships with others, including working in a team setting, functioning successfully in group situations, establishing rapport with persons from different ethnic, cultural and/or economic backgrounds, interacting with and demonstrating empathy to people who are under physical and/or emotional stress and maintaining a calm manner in stressful and/or emergency situations.

24. Ability to exercise sound judgment, including the exercise of discretion in handling confidential information.

25. Ability to demonstrate problem solving skills.

26. Ability to assess and prioritize tasks.

27. Based on assignment, knowledge of the principles and practices of training.

28. Knowledge of continuing changes in laws, rules, regulations, programs, policies, procedures, specifications, standards and guidelines governing agency operations and assigned unit activities.

29. Knowledge of ongoing modifications in the types and uses of agency forms.

30. Skill in the demonstration of principles and practices of training.

31. High level personal computer (PC) skills and more in-depth knowledge of various software options.

32. Ability to balance all components of casework on homeless cases from the initial application process through the placement activity, the noncompliance process and through the application of the laws, rules, regulations, programs, policies, procedures, specifications, standards and guidelines governing agency operations and assigned unit activities.

33. Bilingual candidate preferred (ability to read, write and speak standard Spanish).



Please attach a resume and cover letter when applying for this position.

Salary placement is determined by years of experience and education directly related to the position and the Human Resources Division’s Recruiting Guidelines.  In the case of a promotional opportunity, the salary provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement will apply to placement within the salary range.

Education, licensure and certifications will be verified in accordance with the Human Resources Division’s Hiring Guidelines. Education and license/certification information provided by the selected candidate(s) is subject to the Massachusetts Public Records Law and may be published on the Commonwealth’s website.

The homebase location for this position is 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02118.  The incumbent will be required to float to multiple DHCD locations including Brockton, New Bedford, and Hyannis and provide remote services for DHS offices throughout Massachusetts.  The incumbent may also be required to travel to other locations throughout the Commonwealth upon request.


A criminal background check will be completed on the recommended candidate as required by the regulations set forth by the Department of Housing and Community Development prior to the candidate being hired.


First consideration will be given to those applicants that apply within the first 14 days.


REQUIRED WORK EXPERIENCE: At least four years of full-time, or equivalent part-time, professional experience in social work or social casework, claims adjudication, job placement, recruitment, employment counseling, vocational or rehabilitation counseling, credit investigation, educational counseling, legal advocacy, or legal counseling.  


-  A Bachelor's or higher degree may be substituted for two years of the required experience on the basis of two years of education for one year of experience.

-  One year of education equals 30 semester hours.  Education toward a degree will be prorated on the basis of the proportion of the requirements actually completed. 

LICENSES:   Based on assignment, travel may be required.  Those employees who elect to use a motor vehicle for travel must have a current and valid Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Operator's license or the equivalent from another state.

An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer.  Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

If you have Diversity, Affirmative Action or Equal Employment Opportunity questions or need a Reasonable Accommodation, please contact Diversity Officer / ADA Coordinator: Marjorie Lalli - 617-573-1100


Apply online at https://massanf.taleo.net/careersection/ex/jobdetail.ftl?job=190008F9