Anyone who has received help from the department of job and family services (“DJFS”) will tell you that public benefits recipients receive mail from DJFS. Lots of mail. It can seem annoying at times to receive so much mail, in fact.
What’s worse is that most of that mail isn’t just one piece of paper but will often be several pages long. It will often contain a lot of stuff about hearing rights and requests for information and lots of phone numbers you can call if you don’t speak English or need help with it. It might even have references to regulations and laws.
It can be overwhelming if you aren’t expecting to receive so much mail from DJFS. It can also be tempting to simply ignore it or throw it away.
DO NOT JUST THROW AWAY THE MAIL YOU GET FROM DJFS.
There’s a chance that what you got wasn’t important. Could just be a friendly letter saying everything’s perfectly fine.
But there’s a much better chance that they are sending you that piece of mail because they need some information from you. Or they need to meet with you. Or they are going to do something with your benefits.
If you don’t open the mail, you may not know what that something is. And if you don’t timely respond to the mail, you may have your benefits delayed or lose them altogether.
So, please, open your mail from DJFS. Read it carefully. If you don’t 100% completely understand what it says or is asking for, ask someone. Call your caseworker for help. Ask neighbors or family or friends to look over the letter. Contact your local legal aid office for help. Do something.
And do it as soon as you can, because there are often deadlines by which you will need to do what they ask or you might lose your benefits.
Whatever you do, don’t just look at the envelope, say “It’s just another stack of paper from DJFS”, and put it in the trash. We understand that it’s tempting to do so. But you could be throwing away a lot more than an envelope.