Frequently Asked Questions
 

Public Assistance

How do I apply for public assistance programs such as Medicaid, ARKids, nutrition assistance, cash assistance or child care assistance?

You will find the applications you need online at Access Arkansas. The site also will provide you with information so you can determine whether you’re qualified for assistance before submitting an application. You also may apply at your local county office.

What does Medicaid provide?

The Medicaid Program helps you, if you are eligible, to pay some of your medical bills. Eligibility depends on your income, resources, age and situation. Most people who are eligible fall into one of the following categories: age 65 or older, under age 19, blind, disabled, pregnant, nursing home resident, have breast or cervical cancer, disabled but work some, in need of home and community-based services or are under 21 and in foster care.

What is ARKids First?

ARKids First health insurance provides coverage options for more than 300,000 Arkansas children who otherwise might have gone without health care. Eligibility for ARKids is based on your family’s income and other factors. Resources are totally disregarded. ARKids A offers low-income families a comprehensive package of benefits. ARKids B provides coverage for families with higher incomes. Children must be under age 19, living in your home and a U.S. citizen or qualified legal alien. If you have questions about your child’s eligibility, call our ARKids First free hotline at 1-888-474-8275, visit your local county office or log on to Access Arkansas.

How can I get help purchasing food?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) provides food assistance to eligible households to cover a portion of a household's food budget.  Benefits are distributed through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and must be used to buy food products or seeds to grow vegetables. In addition to food assistance, the program provides SNAP recipients with nutrition education regarding food safety, healthy foods, portion sizes, and food preparation.

I just lost my job. How can I provide for my children?

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is a federally funded program that provides case management services to assist families with children under age 18 with finding employment. Arkansas's TANF program is called Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA). While looking for a job, the family will receive a cash assistance payment based on household size. The family's income must be equal to or less than $223 per month. SSI income is not counted in this total. The family's resources must be $3000 or less.  Supportive services also will be provided to the recipient if needed while looking for employment. TANF also provides cash assistance to children being cared for by caretaker relatives other than the parent.

I cannot pay for my utilities. Where can I get help?

The Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households with home energy costs by providing financial assistance through the Winter Assistance Program and Crisis Intervention Program.  Each program provides assistance to a household’s energy supplier or, under certain circumstances to the applicant. The Crisis Intervention Program provides assistance to eligible households facing energy-related emergencies. The Winter Assistance program runs from early January until the end of March or the depletion of funds. The Crisis Programs runs from the beginning of April until the end of September or until the depletion of funds. Both program are operated by the 16 Community Action Agencies and cover all 75 counties of the State of Arkansas. 

Childcare

What types of childcare assistance are there?

Transitional Employee Assistance (TEA) childcare which is available to TEA clients receiving TEA benefits. Extended Support Services childcare which is available only to those TEA clients who gain employment and their TEA case is closed due to earnings. Low Income Childcare which is available to those who work 30 hours per week, be a full time student, or work part time and go to school part time that averages out to 30 hours per week.

How long will I be on the waiting list for childcare assistance?

As services become available in a particular county, the Program Eligibility Specialist will contact the applicants based on the availability of day care services.

Once I'm approved for childcare assistance how often will my case by reevaluated?

Every six (6) months.

How do I appeal a denial decision?

Whenever an application is denied, or an adverse action is taken on a case, the client will be informed in writing of the decision and of the right for a review of the decision.  The notice to the applicant/client must state that he/she has ten (10) days from the date of the Notice of Action in which to submit a request to Internal Review of the decision.

Where can I find the minimum licensing requirements for day care homes, centers and voluntarily registered homes?

For information, visit the Child Care Licensing page. 
 

Services for the Disabled

How do I apply for services offered by the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services?

For children ages 0-21, contact DDS Children’s Services Intake and Referral Unit at 501-682-1464. For adults, contact the DDS Adult Services Intake and Referral Unit at 501-683-5687.

Does a physician have to make the referral for my infant or toddler (birth to 36 months) to receive First Connections Early Intervention Services?

No. Anyone can refer an infant or toddler for Early Intervention services (examples: a parent, a concerned friend, neighbor, physician or teacher). Please contact the Early Intervention program at our help and information line. 800-643-8258.

Youth Committed to the Division of Youth Services

How long does a youth stay in Division of Youth Services residential programs?

Youth Services uses a matrix to set the length of stay based on the law violated. However, we do monitor the progress of each youth in their rehabilitative work and adjust the length of stay accordingly. The average length of stay is approximately six months.

Do youth in residential programs receive educational services?

Yes. Youth Services system of education is recognized by law and the Arkansas Department of Education. The youth are required to attend school while in residential programs and receive credit toward graduation for their work.

Seniors

What type of programs or services are available in Arkansas for seniors?

DHS Division of Aging and Adult Services, 501-682-2441 or 866-801-3435 or you may visit our website at www.daas.ar.gov  and search for public benefits and programs for Arkansas seniors.

Where can I get a list of senior centers in a particular county?

Call the Division of Aging and Adult services at 501-682-2441 or 866-801-3435 . We will put you in touch with the Area Agency on Aging for your Region. You also may visit our website at www.daas.ar.gov for more information.

Are all services offered in every county in Arkansas?

Unfortunately, not all services are offered in every county. Call the Division of Aging and Adult Services at 501-682-2441 or 866-801-3435. We will give you the number for your local Area Agency on Aging. You also may visit our website at www.daas.ar.gov for a comprehensive list of services by county.

Who should I contact for help with Medicare or Medicaid?

You may call your local Area Agency on Aging or the DAAS Choices In Living Resource Center at  866-801-3435. You also may visit our website at www.daas.ar.gov for a comprehensive list of DHS county offices.

Are there programs for families who need help with a parent but do not want to place the parent in a nursing home.

Yes. Long Term Care Medicaid Waivers and private pay services are available depending on circumstances.

Medicaid

Where do I call if I have a problem with Medicaid transportation?

You may call the Transportation Help Line at 1-888-987-1200 and follow the directions.

What is a ConnectCare Primary Care Physician or PCP?

A ConnectCare Primary Care Physician or "PCP," is your family "doctor" who will take care of all your healthcare needs. Your ConnectCare doctor has your medical records and will give you medical advice based on your medical needs. Your doctor can handle your basic medical needs, refer you for special care, and admit you into the hospital. You may contact your doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. When attempting to contact your doctor, you may talk to your doctor directly, another doctor, or staff person based on the availability of your doctor.

How do I get a ConnectCare doctor?

1. Your Medicaid caseworker should ask you to complete a ConnectCare Primary Care Physician enrollment form when applying for a Medicaid card.

2. If you are a SSI (Supplemental Security Income) recipient, you may go to a DHS office to select a ConnectCare doctor once you have become Medicaid eligible, or call ConnectCare at 1-800-275-1131 (1-800-285-1131 TDD), or if you are in the Central Arkansas area, call 614-4689.

3. You may select your doctor at his or her office. Your choice is valid from the date the office calls it into Medicaid.

4. You may call the ConnectCare Help Line  at 1-800-275-1131 (1-800-285-1131 TDD), or if you are in the Central Arkansas area, call 614-4689, 6:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday – Friday.

5. You also may request a doctor using the online assign/change form on our website at www.seeyourdoc.org. Please note that using this method DOES NOT guarantee your request. If you need a doctor immediately, please call the Help Line.

Mental Health/Substance Abuse

I need mental health and/or substance abuse treatment, but I have no insurance or way to pay for it. How can I get help?

Community mental health centers (CMHC) provide services for priority populations and persons with limited financial resources. Priority populations are served first and include Act 911 forensic patients (including those jailed and recently released) and patients certified as seriously emotionally disturbed or seriously mentally ill. Other patients are served as resources allow. These CMHCs provide a full array of services, including individual and group therapy, medication management and case management. Please refer to Community Mental Health Centers under Related Documents for the location of the mental health center in your area. It is possible that the CMHC may allow a reduced payment option for services.

For alcohol and/or substance abuse treatment, please contact the Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (OADAP) at (501) 686-9866 for more information regarding receiving treatment with limited financial resources.

My adult son/daughter needs mental health and/or substance abuse treatment but refuses to go. What are my options?

If your son or daughter is a clear and present danger to self or others because of a mental illness or alcohol and/or drug abuse, they can be “committed”. This involves a judge issuing an order that this person get an evaluation and/or treatment regardless of the person’s agreement. The treatment can be inpatient (in a hospital) or outpatient (at a clinic). Arkansas law is very specific about the commitment process, and the dangerous behavior must be serious and also recent or an immediate threat. More information about the commitment process can be found on this (DBHS) website at Mental Health Commitment Law under Related Documents. You also can contact the Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (OADAP) at (501) 686-9866 to learn more about your options.

You also might check into Psychiatric Advanced Directives. This is a legal instrument used to document a competent person’s specific instructions or preferences regarding future mental health treatment, in preparation for the possibility that the person may lose capacity to give or withhold informed consent to treatment during acute episodes of psychiatric illness. More information about Psychiatric Advanced Directives can be found on this (DBHS) website under Related Documents. 

How can I help a family member or friend that is threatening to harm themselves?

The first step is to make sure they are safe. Call the police if you feel they are an immediate threat to do harm. If the threat is not immediate, there are other resources available to help you. The Arkansas Crisis Center (1-888-274-7472 or www.arcrisis.org) has a 24-hour hotline with dedicated volunteers and staff members.  You also can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or TTY 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). You also can contact the local community mental health center or RSPMI private provider in your area. Each of these providers is required to have emergency/crisis services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Other suicide prevention resources are available at the Arkansas Suicide Prevention website.