Career Focus - Welfare eligibility worker
WELFARE eligibility workers interview and investigate applicants and recipients to determine eligibility for government assistance, such as welfare, unemployment benefits, and public housing.
These interviewers gather the relevant personal and financial information about an applicant and, based on the rules and regulations of the government, grant, modify, deny or terminate an individual's eligibility for welfare benefits.
They also help to detect fraud committed by people who try to obtain benefits they are not eligible to receive.
Wilhelmina Moreni decided to follow a career in this field, because she wanted to make a positive contribution to the lives of people. She says her personal background motivated this decision. After obtaining a degree in social work, Moreni moved into the field of welfare eligibility.
"I thoroughly enjoy my career. I sometimes have many cases to attend to at the same time, which can be stressful, but I can truly say this is my dream career - I wouldn't want to do anything else."
In this line of work, one can expect to earn between R72500 (at a non-profit organisation) and R104 000 (at a state department) per annum.
Welfare workers attend to individuals or families in need, and assist them, as far as possible, to overcome their difficulties. They provide counselling services, offer advice and guide people step by step to improve their situation.
Wilhelmina says her job includes going out into the field to determine families' welfare needs. Her main focus is on child protection, so she screens foster care applicants, supervises foster care providers and goes out to people's homes to establish whether a child or children need to be placed in a safer or more favourable environment.
She also does counselling with everyone involved.
Required studies and experience
A BA degree (social work) is required for any job in the social work field. You will also need good communication, negotiation and presentation skills and the ability to write detailed reports.
Qualified social workers can branch off to many different areas in the sphere of helping people with all types of problems. They deal with victims of abuse, alcoholics, drug addicts, people who can't afford to feed their children, and many others who have psychological, health, social or financial problems.
Although this job can be difficult for most people, especially when you see people who are confused, scared and weighed down by problems all day long, most social workers feel uplifted by their job, because they are helping others. You also need to have the ability to respect and get along with all types of people.
An average day
"My day is mostly made up of attending appointments and interviewing foster parents and children. After the interviews, I make notes, write a report, and update my files.
"If there is a need for nine home visits a day, then I will conduct nine home visits that day. The visits are to evaluate the home circumstances where the children are staying."
The best thing about the job
"Nothing is better than the personal fulfilment of helping people. I experience new and challenging things every day, and I am making a positive change in people's lives," says Moreni.
The worst thing about the job
"Attending court proceedings can be very stressful, especially in the criminal courts. I have also had to attend to uncontrollable children who take drugs - that is quite scary and very exhausting.
"With the increasing number of children orphaned by HIV-Aids and, therefore, the high demand for foster care, enormous pressure is being placed on SA's child welfare system." - sacareerfocus.co.za