Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


1. What Does a Township Trustee Do?

2. Who is Eligible for Trustee Help?

3. How is Need Determined?

4. Can I Get Trustee Assistance More Than Once?

5. How Do I Apply for Trustee Assistance?

6. What Should I Bring When I Come To Apply?

7. What Happens After the Application?

8. What if the Trustee Denies Assistance?

9. What Kind of Assistance Can the Trustee Provide?

10. What About the Residency Requirement?

11. What Is the Person Applying for or Receiving Trustee Assistance Expected to Do?

12. How Does the Trustee Provide Aid?

13. I'm a Landlord and I have a Tenant In Need Who Is Unable to Pay Rent. Can The Trustee help?

14. How Do I Find Out More About the Trustee's Practices and Procedures?


1. What Does a Township Trustee Do?

The trustee is assisted in his duties by an elected board and an appointed staff. The Township Trustee is an elected official who is the Overseer of the Poor within his township.

A trustee is responsible for helping poor persons in their township only. Rules and procedures may vary between townships.

Other duties of the trustee include fire and ambulance protection, weed control, dog licenses, abandoned cemeteries, and rental of the Community Hall. [top]

 

2. Who is Eligible for Trustee Help?

Basic eligibility concerning township assistance include:
  • Apply within the township where you live.
  • Be in need of essentials of life.
  • Be willing to help yourself as much as possible.
  • Client's resources must fall within established income guidelines. [top]
 

3. How is Need Determined?

A person or family is in need if there is not enough income or resources to provide the basic necessities of life. Necessities of life include food, shelter, utilities, medical, household supplies, clothing and other basic needs.

Individual qualification is determined by the trustee or staff based on written standards adopted by the township. [top]

 

4. Can I Get Trustee Assistance More Than Once?

Yes, however, by law trustee assistance is short-term. Trustee's assistance can continue as long as your needs exist IF you continue to try to help yourself by seeking employment and/or other forms of assistance. [top]
 

5. How Do I Apply for Trustee Assistance?

You will need to phone the trustee's office to have an application packet mailed to you, or you can pick one up during regular office hours.   Interviews are done on a first-come, first-served basis.

You must be interviewed after you have filled out the application form. The application is a legal affidavit and you must state your situation as accurately and completely as you can. Applications are signed by all adult members of the household. There are criminal penalties for deliberately giving false information. [top]

 

6. What Should I Bring When I Come To Apply?

You should bring any papers which help explain your situation. For example, your rent or house payment receipt will show where you live, how much your rent or house payment is, to whom you make your payments, etc. You should also bring receipts for any money you have spent for at least the past thirty (30) days. This will help show how you have spent your money.

To show what your income has been, bring check stubs or statements from any person or agency helping you. Bringing as much proof as you can about your situation can help speed up the application process. The trustee, by law, may request your permission to verify (by phone or mail) any information you give during your application.

If you are asking for help with utilities, bring the latest bills with you. If you are presently receiving TANF or Food Stamps, bring the most recent Certificate of Action from your caseworker.

The trustee may require additional documentation depending on an individual's situation. (see application process) [top]

  

7. What Happens After the Application?

If you have an immediate need, such as food or prescriptions, the trustee can give help the same day. You may be asked to bring in additional information before a decision can be made. In most cases, a determination can be made within three (3) business days, not including weekends or holidays.

If the trustee determines you are not eligible for assistance at this point, you will be given a "Notice of Township Assistance" which is a written statement of the decision and the reason for it. [top]

  

8. What if the Trustee Denies Assistance?

You can appeal within fifteen (15) days. The "Notice of Township Assistance", which gives the reason you were denied, also tells you how to appeal with the County Commissioners. The Board of County Commissioners will set a time to hear your side of the story, and the trustee's, and then make a decision. They are bound to use the same set of guidelines that the trustee does. You can bring documents and witnesses to the hearing to help prove your case. You can be represented by legal counsel or anyone you choose. [top]
  

9. What Kind of Assistance Can the Trustee Provide?

Specifically, the trustee can meet the following basic needs:
  • Clothing - necessary for employment, school, or ordinary decency.
  • Food - for households not receiving food stamps. The trustee will not supplement food stamps except in specific emergencies: theft, spoilage, health needs.
  • Household Supplies - cleaning and hygiene items.
  • Medical Assistance - not otherwise provided by insurance, clinics and HCI, and other government subsidized programs.
  • Shelter - rental payments not to exceed established schedule (if specified in the township assistance standards). The landlord or property owner does not have to accept trustee payment. The trustee will not pay for housing that is unfit. The trustee can assist in emergency relocation.
  • Utilities - bills in the current name of the applicant for the current residence. Apply for utility assistance as soon as you realize you are unable to pay your bills - do not wait until the bills are delinquent or service is disconnected.
  • Other services include burials and transportation to seek and/or maintain employment. [top]
  

10. What About the Residency Requirement?

A person does not need to have lived in the township for any particular length of time as long as he/she is living there at the time of application. A traveler stranded in the township may apply for assistance as a transient with or without the assistance of the local police or county sheriff's department. [top]
  

11. What Is the Person Applying for or Receiving Trustee Assistance Expected to Do?

The Work Requirement:
By law, the trustee must require any able-bodied, unemployed member of a household receiving assistance to seek and accept employment, unless:
  • Disabled
  • Under age 18 or over 65
  • Needed to care for another person
  • There is no work assignment available
  • Employed full-time
  • Employment would violate fair labor standards or the law

The trustee may require proof of your inability to work, such as a doctor's statement.

Other self-help requirements:
Any member of the household receiving assistance is required to apply for other forms of aid if it might help the household meet basic needs. Examples of other forms of assistance are:

  • Food Stamps
  • Unemployment
  • TANF
  • Veteran's Benefits
  • Social Security
  • SSI
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare

The recipient must cooperate with the trustee's office in getting necessary papers signed. For instance, in order for the trustee to pay rent, the person receiving help must sign a purchase order to go to the landlord. Failure to cooperate with the trustee could result in denial or termination of assistance.

If you are unemployed but able to work, you may be assigned to a workfare project. The work you perform will help pay for the aid you get. [top]

  

12. How Does the Trustee Provide Aid?

The trustee issues purchase orders, never cash, to pay for the goods and services which they provide. A purchase order is not money, but is a written promise that the trustee will pay money to the company or person who provides the aid. For instance, if you need food, the trustee may give you a food purchase order to take to a grocery store. The purchase order is good only if you take it to that particular store. The grocery takes the purchase order in exchange for food you select. You will receive no change if you use less than the full amount of your purchase order. Then the store turns the purchase order back in to the trustee and the trustee pays the grocery store the amount on the purchase order. [top]
  

13. I'm a Landlord and I have a Tenant In Need Who Is Unable to Pay Rent. Can The Trustee help?

Yes, IF the tenant qualifies for assistance. You can refer the tenant to the trustee's office to make application. If eligible, the recipient will sign a purchase order for the rent. This purchase order will be sent to you for your signature and should be returned to this office immediately. The Trustee's Office will forward a check to you, within forty-five (45) days. Any questions about rent purchase orders may be directed to the Trustee. [top]
  

14. How Do I Find Out More About the Trustee's Practices and Procedures?

The trustee is an elected official and like all officials, is governed by laws and standards. The laws are in IC 12. The Trustee's office writes checks twice a month and the check will be sent directly to you. These Township Assistance Standards are available for anyone to see in the Trustee's Office. [top]