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How to Get a Caseworker

How to Get a Caseworker

If you’re wondering how to get a caseworker, you’ve come to the right place! No matter what you’re looking for help with, be it housing, food security, healthcare, or something else, it’s likely that there’s a caseworker who can help you. Read on for more information about how to get a caseworker and what they can do for you. 

What is a caseworker?

A caseworker is a person employed by either a government agency or a private organization who is there to help navigate the system, provide information, answer questions, and help with applications. 

Sometimes the terms “social worker” and “caseworker” are used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Caseworkers are equipped to deal with administrative and logistical matters with clients, and their role does not typically require an advanced degree. 

Social workers typically have more advanced training and many have the ability to diagnose and treat mental health issues if they have acquired a license in the state where they are working. That said, your caseworker might also be a social worker, depending on the agency they are working for.

Caseworkers work for many types of agencies and organizations, including those that administer Medicaid and Medicare, SNAP, Child Protective Services, and private organizations that help with legal matters or housing. 

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What do caseworkers do?

What do caseworkers do? It depends on what kind of agency you are involved with and what kind of service you are seeking. 

If you apply for a service or benefit through either the government or a private organization, your caseworker will likely provide you with information about the services you are applying for, assess your eligibility, guide you to find the necessary documents for your application, and answer any questions you have. 

In some instances, your family may have a caseworker if you are in contact with Child Protective Services regarding the welfare of children in your care. CPS caseworkers are usually social workers who investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, and connect families with resources to help them navigate challenging times. In rare cases, if an investigation concludes that there has been neglect or abuse in the home and children are in imminent danger, they may remove the children from the home to be placed in foster homes until the appropriate action can be taken.  

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How to get a caseworker

How to get a caseworker depends on what you are seeking a caseworker for. If you apply for a government benefit like Medicaid, TANF, or SNAP, then you will automatically be assigned a caseworker who will assess your eligibility and work with you to find the resources you need.

There are other situations that you might find yourself in need of a caseworker, such as when you are seeking assistance for an older adult. Many states and municipalities offer caseworker programs, like this one in New York City, to help older adults navigate the complex system of government and private benefits that they are entitled to. Further, these types of caseworkers can be helpful for older adults looking for assisted living or nursing homes. 

Some people might also need a caseworker when they are diagnosed with a serious or chronic illness, or are being discharged from a hospital stay. When this happens, a caseworker may be assigned to you by the hospital automatically. You can also ask your medical provider if there are caseworkers available to help navigate the challenges around treatment, such as insurance coverage. 

Caseworkers can be helpful in a wide variety of settings. The best way to find a caseworker is to ask for one when you are applying for a service or benefit, or navigating a complex issue such as treatment for a chronic illness. 

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Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.