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Financial Assistance Worker


Most people live simple lives, but unfortunately, in this day and age when the cost of living is rising almost as quickly as the value of a dollar is dropping, many people are finding it more difficult to get by. In fact, chances are that the majority of people will need some sort of financial help sometime in their lives. It could come in the form of a scholarship, a loan, a grant, or through social assistance.

Government agencies and non-profit organizations accept applications for people who are in need of a little help. Sometimes, a non-profit group will help battered women fleeing dangerous partners set themselves up - they'll provide them with pots and pans, a sofa, and support groups. Other times, governmental social service agencies will assess people's applications forms, and determine who is eligible for financial assistance.

The people who process these applications are known as financial assistance workers. Generally employed by social services, they can also be on staff at universities, colleges, non-profit agencies, and hospitals, processing applications for loans and grants.

When they work for social services, financial assistance workers also connect applicants with other services they may be eligible for, like childcare, subsidized housing, employment opportunities, and additional services for people with disabilities.

Anyone working in this field needs to be resourceful, and able to match services with participants. They must enjoy working with people from all walks of life in order to provide quality service to those in need. They must be calm and patient, sensitive when people who are distraught or ill ask for their help. And most of all, financial assistance workers must strive to remain judgment-free when assessing applicants.
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  Interests and Skills  
Successful financial assistance workers are mature, patient, sensitive and non-judgmental, as well as resourceful, emotionally stable, and flexible when it comes to client behavior. They have a genuine desire to help all people, and strive come up with appropriate assistance for each individual client. Most of these workers are interested in learning about the many social programs available and are firm believers in the importance of those social programs.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Interview potential participants in financial assistance program
  • Assist with application forms
  • Type reports and use database systems on a computer
  • Work alongside other members of the social service network
  • Perform mathematical calculations and analyze financial records
  • Work effectively with all individuals, including those from diverse backgrounds, in a fair, objective and reasonable manner;
  • Conduct follow-up interviews and recommend other service programs to participants
  • Financial assistance workers work regular hours, with the occasional evening or weekend shift, depending on the employer. They process a lot of paper, as well as meet with many people, including social workers, applicants, participants, and coworkers. They will spend most of their day in the same office building, in a shared or single office.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • The majority of financial assistance workers are employed by governments, however, they can also work with postsecondary institutions, hospitals and clinics, and non-profit organizations. They work in larger cities, or monitor rural communities. They will spend much of their time processing applications and meeting with participants in an office.

  Long Term Career Potential  
The majority of financial assistance workers are initially hired as on-call staff. After time, they can advance to full-time, and eventually on to other positions like supervisor and investigator. Financial assistance workers may choose to branch into family service or child care work, or go on to finish a degree in social work, and become a licensed social worker.

  Educational Paths  
While there is no specific educational path to becoming a financial assistance worker, it is suggested that applicants have some postsecondary education, in social work, finance, law, or English. Most regions will require applicants to write a pre-qualifying test to determine whether or not the candidates are right for the position. After the initial test, there may be further testing, interviewing, and a reference check. Individuals will also need to undergo a police record check. Volunteer, employment, and life experiences are taken into consideration when reviewing applicants, so you may want to get out there and help at a shelter or after-school program for underprivileged kids. If you are hired, you will receive some on-the-job training to assist you in your new career.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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