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Department of Human Services employees told to expect 10% furlough for 4 years

Department of Human Services employees, who continue to assist those in need during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, got the news late Monday afternoon that their department will likely experience furloughs.

The director of the Department of Human Services sent out a message to staff announcing a likely 10% furlough will potentially take effect Dec. 1 due to the state’s dire financial situation.

Director Cathy Betts said that she was informed Monday that the plan is for a 10% furlough that potentially would last the next four fiscal years, but added that she has no details.

DHS includes Med-QUEST Division, which helps those unemployed or with low-income to get medical coverage, the Benefit, Employment & Support Services Division, which provides assistance to those in need, including the SNAP-Nutrition Program (formerly Food Stamp Program); its Social Services Division overseeing child and adult welfare, as well as the Office of Youth Services and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

“Although this is not the final word, I wanted to let you know what is being planned so you are aware,” she said.

“We will continue to ensure that we mitigate the impact on the two most important things to this office: Our staff and the people we serve.”

She said that if Congress acts and passes the HEROES bill, the furlough may be avoided.

Betts said she returned to the department to improve its systems, “so that I could work to ensure employees were happy and retained, and so I could do my best to ensure families are safe and taken care of. I took a very serious oath upon taking this position: that I would protect you and the people we serve.

“I will continue to do this as we navigate this new reality.”

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