DHS’s Response to COVID-19 for Clients
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, DHS suspended the rule that requires applicants and recipients to cooperate with the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). You may have heard this called a “blanket good cause” for OCSE.
Please note that the requirement to cooperate with OCSE will return beginning July 1, 2020. Cooperation with OCSE only applies to applicants and recipients who have one or more parents not living in the household. Please contact your local county office if you have any questions about how this requirement affects your case.
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Your health is our top priority. We want to assure you that providers are continuing to be paid for services, prior authorizations are being approved, applications are being processed, and services for clients will continue during this public health emergency. Below you will find the latest information for clients broken down by category. This list will be updated as needed.
- How can I apply for services?
- How do I get replacement SNAP benefits if I lost food because of a severe weather power outage?
- Short-term Child Care Assistance for Essential Workers
- What is DHS doing for the elderly and others getting services at home?
- What is DHS doing to ensure services continue?
- Miscellaneous Resources
Our county offices are open because we know that people need to apply or ask questions. We are working hard to keep our lobbies safe for people coming in and for our employees. However, we ask that if you are able, please apply or ask questions online or by phone instead of coming into your county office.
The fastest and safest way to apply for benefits is by going to Access.Arkansas.gov or by calling 1-855-372-1084.
If you want to email your application, first download a SNAP or Medicaid application below. Then you can either scan or take a picture of your completed application or any needed documents and email them to the office in your county.
- Click here to find the email address for your county.
- In the subject line of your email, make sure to type “SENSITIVE.” This is to protect the confidential information in your application.
- Please only send your application to one office in your county. If you email your application to more than one office, it will take longer to process your application.
These are the applications available for you to download:
SNAP & TEA Application
Application for Arkansas Medicaid, ARKids First, or Arkansas Works
(For Single Adults with no dependents)
Application for Arkansas Medicaid, ARKids First, or Arkansas Works
Application for Medicare Savings for Qualified Beneficiaries
(Helps pay Medicare premiums and costs)
Application for Long-term Services and Supports
(For Home- and Community-Based Services, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Facilities)
For your safety and the safety of our employees, we urge you to call us with questions, apply online, or email us your completed applications. However, if you choose to go to your county office, please note that we are limiting the number of people in our lobbies to less than 10, which means you will experience longer than normal wait times and may have to stand outside until the lobby clears out. That is for your safety. Please do not come to a county office if you are sick.
If you need to fill out and deliver a paper application, first download the application from the links above and complete it, and then you may put it in the dropbox set up at your county office for your safety and convenience.
SNAP clients who have suffered food loss due to a household misfortune, including a power outage due to severe weather, can have some of their benefits replaced. Clients must take the following steps for this process:
- Notify DHS within 10 days of the power outage using the Declaration of Loss Form. This 10-day time period is from the day your power is restored.
- Fill out the Declaration of Food Loss Form and return it to DHS. You can download the form here.
- Give DHS verification of the power outage- DHS can help you with power outage verification by contacting local power companies.
You can type in the information to fill out the form and email it to your local county office. You can find your local county office email here. Please do not send an email to more than one county office.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided over $41 million in Child Care Development Block Grant funds to the DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE). An estimated $18 million of that will be used to cover the cost of child care for some essential workers in Arkansas.
- Essential personnel, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, includes but is not limited to emergency responders, health care providers, public health personnel, manufacturing workers, sanitation workers, child care and early childhood staff, and individuals involved in the food supply chain during pandemic.
- Assistance will be paid directly to the licensed child care provider. The provider must participate in the child care voucher program. To find a child care center that participates in the child care assistance program, click here.
- The vouchers will be paid during the public health emergency. Payments would cover the full cost of child care during that time, as funding allows.
- If you make less than $2,954.98 each month for a family of two, you may qualify for traditional child care assistance instead of the short-term assistance for essential workers. See all income information here for other family sizes.
- Completed applications should be emailed to FamilySupport@dhs.arkansas.gov.
Child Care Provider Frequently Asked Questions
We have created a call center staffed with nurses and other specialists who are calling elderly clients in the ARChoices and PACE programs as well as those who get personal care at home twice a week to make sure they are getting the services they need and have meals. If clients have questions or concerns, they may also call 1-800-400-8016.
- Emergency rule suspensions - As we work to ensure the essential services DHS provides, we may come across rules or regulations that we need to temporarily suspend to ensure we can meet the needs of our clients. You can find a list of suspended rules here.
- SNAP Clients – we will expedite SNAP eligibility for individuals who have a loss of income due to the public health emergency. Also, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act now allows us to issue supplemental benefits to current SNAP households. Learn more here.
- SNAP Clients with a Work Requirement – Effective March 18, 2020, all SNAP clients with a work requirement will get a “good cause” exemption for March and April, which means if they don’t report their work activity it will not count against them.
- Childcare Voucher Families
- Effective March 18, 2020, we are suspending the renewal process for 30 days so that no one loses childcare assistance during that time.
- DCCECE will reimburse childcare voucher providers who remain open through the Child Care Development Block Grant. Below is a map with up to date information showing which child care providers are open.
You can also see open child care centers as of 07/06/20 in Arkansas in this document, listed by county.
- Arkansas WiFi Mapping Resource - Find outdoor public (free) WiFi location in Arkansas.
- https://www.highspeedinternet.net/covid-internet-assistance/ - This guide helps consumers understand everything from the FCC's recent internet assistance pledge to the ISPs offering COVID crisis assistance.