Determining Service Eligibility
How is eligibility for service determined and controlled?
TRIP allows service programs to be scaled up or down as required by available resources. Eligibility for TRIP volunteer driver service can be used to provide transportation assistance for just about anyone.
Presumably the impetus to start a supplemental transportation service grew from the recognition that a particular under-served or unserved group of residents required assistance. The size of each particular group identified for service will impact service expenses; the larger the group and the more groups that are included will increase service expense.
A set of agreed upon eligibility criteria should be developed and applicants or referrals for service should be evaluated according to established criteria. We recommend the establishment of an Eligibility Determination Committee, made up of individuals representing the community served, as well as representatives of a service’s funding partners. TripTrakTM software can then be used to control service allowances that are awarded to each individual applicant
What is the point of having an Eligibility Determination Committee review and rule on applications?
The Eligibility Determination Committee approach is important in several ways. Staff from the TRIP Program in Riverside have as much as 45 minutes of intimate conversation with each applicant. Based on the information gathered through the telephone application procedure, as well as status of health assessments provided by physicians and specialists, and follow-up conversations with applicants, staff members then make eligibility recommendations to the Committee at meetings every two weeks.
We encourage Committee membership by representatives of our funders, social workers from community partners, members of the older adult and disability community, representatives of transit services and members of our non-profit governing board.
o Following the presentation of recommendations by TRIP staff, Committee members ask questions to clarify or sometimes question staff recommendations based on their understanding of eligibility criteria, real life observations that might contradict staff interpretation of the availability of transportation alternatives, or the specific mobility issues of the applicant, or the policies of a funding agency.
o Multiple heads, experience and expertise help to insure that eligibility determinations fully consider the many variables that might impact an applicant in each individual case. Final determination results from achieved consensus of the review Committee. The process legitimizes decisions that might otherwise be regarded as questionably "subjective".
o The Eligibility Determination Committee experience puts a very real face on the needs and capabilities of each applicant and no one leaves these Committee meetings without a deep appreciation of the TRIP Program, the people it serves, and the need for the volunteer services that it provides. The process expands understanding and support for funding and continuation of the service in the community.
The Beverly Foundation has rated TRIP as ........"the nation's best volunteer driver model"