Our interviewers are carefully trained to determine our clients' eligibility for assistance. We require that each client has a current Maryland driver's license or state-issued ID, and that the address on that ID matches the address on the utility shut-off notice or court-ordered eviction. We keep detailed files on every client, and check the files during each visit to ensure that a client is only helped once within a 12-month period. We call the provider to verify the amount of money required for reinstatement of utilities or back rent required to prevent eviction. We pay the provider directly - not the client. If a client owes more than our benefit maximum, we issue a promissory note that they can come back and redeem when they raise the rest of their funds.
While no system is foolproof against fraud, our philosophy is that we would rather help someone mistakenly than refuse to help someone who genuinely needs it.