Citizenship Laws Adding Work For Human Services Employees

The Mesa County Department of Human Services reports an added workload due to new laws requiring proof of legal U.S. residency.

Human Services officials say the law is hurting many people who really need the help, many of whom can't afford the time or money to get required documents such as birth certificates.

On average Mesa County workers reportedly spend only a few extra minutes on the added paperwork. The extra work comes in the form of denials for aid.

Spokesperson Karen Guillen says, "We are seeing quite an increase in workload for our staff. The main reason is that about 70 per cent of the medicaid applicants that come in initially don't have the paperwork they need. so what's happening is that we give them ten days to come up with the required documents. If they don't provide those documents in ten business days we have to close their case or deny their case, and then we end up opening the case again weeks or even months down the road."

It can cost up to thirty–dollars and a month or more to get a birth certificate, something officials say some extremely poor applicants cannot afford in money or time.

County health and human services officials say they have seen few illegal immigrants attempting to receive help.