Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Help Me Howard: Loss of Income Form
If you leave your job or you are fired, the money stops and the hard times begin. So to get government assistance, you often need your old bosses signature on a form. But does you former boss have to help you out? It's why one woman called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- April is a mother of two and when she isn't taking care of her kids, she worked for a company that took care of sick people.
April Riley, Needs Signature: "It's an agency where they send out nurses to take care of patients."
Life with her son and daughter made her happy. But at work, things were not going well. So she decided to quit and turned in her two week notice. The next morning her boss called her.
April Riley: "And told me don't come back in but send you letter of resignation. And my statement to her was, if you already fired me over the phone, why would I give you a letter of resignation?"
Needless to say the two won't be exchanging Valentines Day cards next week. But April does need her bosses signature on one thing.
April Riley: "Loss of income."
This form is required by DCF before April can apply for government assistance.
April Riley: "For benefits, for public assistance benefits, as in Medicaid, you can receive cash or food stamps for the family."
But days after leaving her job, you can imagine how excited April's old boss would be to rush to sign a form to help her former employee get food stamps.
April Riley: "I mean, I just think she's doing it out of spite. What reason? I don't know."
April says there is no reason for her boss to not sign the form- that the government assistance won't affect the old company at all.
April Riley: "Nothing, nothing will come out of her pocket. It's something that the government furnished for families that in need. It's not like unemployment where she has to pay for a percentage of what I'm receiving."
And April wants to point out she can live without the government handout, but it's not about her.
April Riley: "If it was just me I'd probably just brush it off, but it involves my children."
April emailed her old company a few times, even dropped off the form completely filled out, only needing her bosses signature that confirmed she no longer worked there. But no luck.
April Riley: "I would like my form and I would like to find why. Is there something else that is going on? Why is she refusing the form?"
Well before we find out why, Howard the legal question- does a boss have to sign a form so a former employee can apply for government assistance?
Howard Finkelstein: "No, legally there is nothing that requires a former employer to sign a form. However if they refuse, you are not out of luck. Contact DCF and they will tell you what you need to do."
We first spoke to April's old boss who told us they weren't delaying signing the paper, they just wanted to send it out with April's last paycheck.
DCF told us if an employer refused to sign the document, contact them and they will talk to the former employer. If they still refuse, DCF will accept a written statement from the applicant so they can get the assistance.
Howard Finkelstein: "April wanted food stamps and medical care for her children. But each entitlement program has its own rules. So call DCF or the government agency or go on their website to find the steps you need to follow."
April Riley: "I received the paper in the mail."
Her boss kept her word and gave her the signed document with her last paycheck. April was told she will get her government assistance a couple of days.
April Riley: "Just thank you for all his effort and help, for my self and my two children."
Patrick Fraser: "Glad we could help. And one more tip- no matter what you do, email or letter, keep a dated copy. It could come in handy. Also, a lot of these agencies are being overwhelmed with requests for help. So try emailing instead of phone calls. It's quicker and you have proof."
Your boss decided you are not exactly the employee of the year. You decided your boss isn't exactly the ideal person to work for. We can't do anything about that. But every other problem, you can employ us to help you out.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: email@example.com (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org