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Social Services

Resources for practitioners in the social services field who are serving survivors of torture are as follows:

"Torture occurs within a cultural and social context. It breaks the connections between individuals and their social environment. It separates the bonds of communities. Social work interventions, therefore, are directed at individuals, their families and immediate environments, community, social, and functional groups, and policies and systems. These are accomplished through direct service, resource development, community interventions, education and training, research, and public policy work."

From Healing the Hurt, Chapter 4

Immigration Status Questions Could Cost Refugees their Health Insurance Coverage

Last week, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services mailed final notices to approximately 310,000 people who were able to enroll in health insurance coverage through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace but whose immigration status or citizenship could not be immediately verified. The notices tell people with data-matching problems (also called “inconsistencies”) that if they don’t upload or mail in copies of their documentation by Sept. 5, they risk losing their insurance coverage on Sept. 30. The notices are in English or Spanish only. Some states that run their own marketplaces are imposing these same deadlines.

Anyone who receives a notice should submit copies of their documents again—even if they’ve already uploaded or mailed in documentation—to avoid losing their coverage. Marketplace customers may also call the Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596 to check to see if they need to submit documents.

Deadline to submit documents: Sept. 5, 2014
Potential coverage cutoff: Sept. 30, 2014
Call center: 1-800-318-2596

See the National Immigration Law Center's FAQ about resolving health insurance Marketplace “inconsistencies”

Date published: 
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Alert: Scam to Rob Refugees of Personal Data

There are several criminals seeking to take advantage of newly arrived refugees who may not realize the need to protect their personal information from thieves and other criminals. 

Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC), an ORR grantee from Iowa, reports that last week some of their clients were visited by two men claiming to  be cell phone company representatives.  These men went door to door asking refugee families for their social security numbers, Medicaid numbers, and dates of birth, promising them free cell phones in return.  

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is following scam attempts such as these, and encourages anyone contacted with similar scams to report them through the FTC website. Their recently published Consumer Alert provides valuable tips on how to avoid being victimized, and what to do in case you are contacted.  They have also set up a new web page, Avoiding Scams Against Immigrants, with information and materials in several languages. 

Unfortunately, people are getting hurt by this scam: some refugees are losing thousands of dollars. How can you avoid scams like this? 

  • Do not give important personal information - or money - to someone you don't know or to someone who contacts you unexpectedly.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to unknown persons who seek payment or solicits charitable contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials asking for payments or donations,door-to-door, via phone, mail, e-mail or social networking sites.
  • If you are a refugee and get a call like this, talk to the case manager at your resettlement agency immediately. Then report it to the Federal Trade Commission online or at 1-877-FTC-HELP

Information courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission,FTC Consumer Alert

Resettled refugees are once again advised to consult with their local resettlement agencies if someone claiming to represent the government contacts them, especially if there are promises of cash or prizes.  If these scammers come to your home, report the incident to your local police.

Date published: 
Friday, 15 August 2014