Five CAP offers computer services

LAKE COUNTY - Sometimes the bureaucracy surrounding getting help can frustrate those most in need.

With state budget cuts, workers being asked to do more with less and the need constantly increasing with the declining economy, the Michigan Department of Human Services offices often become overburdened.

In an effort to assist in fulfilling these demands, FiveCAP, Inc. has placed kiosks to access DHS online in its local office where residents in need can apply for services such as food stamps, emergency assistance and unemployment benefits as well as receive help with the process.

“Having the kiosk at FiveCAP allows people to apply for services without the weight and burden on the DHS office,” said FiveCAP Executive Director Mary Trucks.

From the kiosk, those in need of help can set up a username and password for the state website using their social security number. The process is easy, with the site prompting each necessary action and security measures in place to protect user’s private information.

After the application process is complete, the applicant will receive a letter from the DHS office in Lansing, giving them a phone number to call and a date and time for an interview with a state employee.

Once they are enrolled in assistance programs, people are also able to use the FiveCAP kiosks to check on the status of their assistance and access information for the previous two to three months.

There are several additional benefits FiveCAP community service workers have discovered since the kiosks were put in place. Not only can first-time applications be filled out, people receiving benefits are able to see if they qualify for other assistance.

“The state emergency relief part of the site is most helpful, because it will show applicants what else they might qualify for and provide proof of income for other assistance,” said FiveCAP Community Support Services worker Lori Murphy.

Resident users are also able to access their quarterly statements, online banking and unemployment payment history and print these statements. Additionally, all correspondence sent from the state is available online and FiveCAP staff members are on hand to explain some of the information, which can sometimes be difficult to understand.

The local FiveCAP office is located at 2476 West 44th St., in Baldwin and can be reached by phone at (231) 745-4617.