Eligibility Specialist I - English and Bilingual (English/Spanish)

County Of Sonoma   Santa Rosa, CA   Full-time     Social Service
Posted on October 1, 2021
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Be a part of this exciting opportunity to join a dynamic team as an Eligibility Specialist I 
and help our community's most disadvantaged members!
A cash allowance of approximately $600/month will be added to the starting pay
Plus, an additional $1.15/hour for bilingual assignments.

The County of Sonoma Human Services Department seeks qualified individuals to fill multiple full-time English & fluent bilingual (English/Spanish) Eligibility Specialist I positions.

The Benefits of County Employment

Sonoma County employment offers expansive opportunities for growth and development, the ability to be a part of a rewarding work environment, and the satisfaction of knowing you're working to better our communities. You can also look forward to excellent benefits* including:
  • An annual Staff Development/Wellness Benefit allowance up to $500
  • Eligibility for a 5% salary increase after 1040 hours (approximately 6 months when working full-time) for good work performance; eligibility for a 5% salary increase every year thereafter for good work performance, until reaching the top of the salary range
  • With experience and good work performance, career advancement to Eligibility Specialist II
  • Competitive vacation and sick leave accruals, 12 holidays and an additional 8 floating holiday hours per year
  • Significant portion of health care premiums paid by the County and access to several health plan options
  • May be eligible for up to 8 weeks (320 hours) of Paid Parental Leave after 12 months of County employment
  • County contribution to a Health Reimbursement Arrangement to help fund post-retirement employee health insurance/benefits

Working as an Eligibility Specialist I (ES I)

ES I's interview clients to obtain and evaluate personal information in order to determine eligibility for benefits. ES I's must be able to adapt and respond to the ever changing regulatory requirements of public assistance programs. These positions may be assigned to a high volume call center environment in the Economic Assistance Division.  

The ideal candidates for these ES I positions will possess:

  • The interpersonal skills necessary to interact with, obtain information from, and provide support to clients who are in stressful life situations
  • Proficient computer skills necessary to navigate department-specific software, perform data entry, and use the internet
  • Initiative, and the ability to use multiple resources to provide answers to clients
  • An aptitude for handling a large volume of case records and documents with precision
  • Excellent time management and prioritization skills in order to successfully meet regulatory deadlines
  • The willingness to receive and apply constructive feedback
  • Clear and effective oral and written communication abilities

Due to rigorous paperwork demands and regulatory deadlines, the Human Services Department has instituted a classroom and on the job training program for all ES I positions, and a one-year probationary period.

The Eligibility Specialist series (I/II/Senior/Supervisor) provides an excellent career path for candidates interested in pursuing a career in public service. 


Tentative Date for the Written Examination:
Tuesday, November 9th & Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Department Selection Interviews for Top Ranking Candidates
 will be held November 29th through December 3rd, 2021

Anticipated Start Date:
Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

Bilingual Premium

Bilingual premium pay is an additional $1.15 cents per hour on top of the hourly pay rate. Fluent bilingual positions require English and Spanish language proficiency in reading, writing, and conversation. In order to be considered for bilingual assignments, applicants must indicate their ability level on their application and in their response to the required supplemental questionnaire. A bilingual examination will be conducted prior to employment to confirm level of skill. Bilingual premium pay begins after completion of the training period and upon the assignment of a bilingual caseload.


Minimum Qualifications

Education and Experience: Any combination of education, training, and experience which would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities. Normally, this would include:
Completion of 60 semester or 90 quarter units at an accredited college including at least 9 semester or 12 quarter units in business, accounting, math, computer science, or behavioral science;

Two years of full-time experience performing clerical duties, including substantial public contact with clients, and basic interviewing for the purpose of gathering information and explaining policies or clarifying information needed;
One year of full-time experience with responsibility for determining eligibility for loans, financial assistance, unemployment, veterans' benefits, insurance benefits, health benefits and/or providing tax assistance or social services programs would provide an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and abilities listed.

License: Possession of a valid driver's license at the appropriate level including special endorsements, as required by the State of California, may be required depending upon assignment to perform the essential job functions of the position.

Special Skill Requirement: Designated positions may require the ability to speak, read, and write a language in addition to English.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of: laws, rules, and regulations governing eligibility and determination for diverse public assistance programs which include Medi-Cal, private health insurance, and one or more additional public assistance and human service programs and related case administrative techniques; general goals and specific regulations, policies, and procedures of public assistance programs; applicable IRS tax forms; medical insurance and terminology associated with health plan options; complex mathematical calculations; tax regulations, rules, terminology, forms, and household filing status; methods and techniques of conducting an investigative interview;  principles and practices of effective customer service; principles of cultural and human behavior required to deal effectively with clients and staff; the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar; the economic and social problems that call for the use of public assistance programs; public and private social service agencies and other community resources available to meet clients' needs; modern equipment and communication tools used for business functions and programs, project, and task coordination; computers and software programs to conduct research, assess information, and/or prepare documentation; basic recordkeeping and general office practices and procedures.
Ability to: analyze client needs; identify resources and services in the community, develop an effective course of action; understand and correctly apply complex applicable regulations, policies, and procedures; evaluate information and determine appropriate action in conjunction with complex rules and regulations; explain health insurance plan options and plan details available through private health insurance to clients; review a variety of tax documents to obtain needed household filing information; explain Advanced Premium Tax Credit implications to clients; accurately complete complex mathematical computations; refer clients to other community services as needed; assess and manage difficult and hostile persons or situations and call for intervention when appropriate; work in a fast-paced, professional office environment and prioritize a wide range of duties with varying time requirements to ensure timely completion; function effectively in a system with pressure and constant changes; keep lead and/or supervisor informed of progress, problems, work efforts, and results and make effective use of supervision; interpret and explain written directives and regulations; interpret social service programs to applicants, recipients, departmental staff, public and private agencies, community based organizations, and the general public; speak, read, write, and comprehend English at a level sufficient to communicate clearly and concisely and to explain complex regulations and policies in plain language, both orally and in writing, to persons from a variety of socio-economic, cultural, and educational backgrounds; develop and maintain effective working relationships with  clients, departmental staff,  public and private agencies, community based organizations, and the general public; effectively use computer systems, applications, and modern business equipment and systems to perform a variety of work tasks; analyze and effectively utilize electronic information systems data.

Selection Procedure & Some Helpful Tips When Applying

  • Your application information and your responses to the supplemental questions are evaluated and taken into consideration throughout the entire selection process.
  • You should list all your employers and positions held within the last ten years in the work history section of your application and should be as thorough as possible when responding to the supplemental questions.
  • You may include history beyond ten years if related to the position for which you are applying. If you held multiple positions with one employer, list out each position separately.
  • Failure to follow these instructions may impact your competitiveness in this process or may result in disqualification.
The selection procedure will consist of the following examinations:

1.  An Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination (pass/not pass) will be conducted to evaluate each applicant's combination of educational coursework, training, experience, knowledge and abilities, which relate to this position to ensure satisfaction of the minimum qualifications for this position.

2.  A multiple-choice, written examination (weight 100%), will be conducted to further evaluate each candidate's qualifications as they relate to the position. The written examination will measure the core knowledge, skills and abilities for this position in the following areas:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Analytical Ability
  • Written Communication
  • Mathematical Ability
  • Interpersonal Relations
Applicants must attain a minimum passing score of at least 70% on the written examination to be placed on the employment list. The minimum passing score may be an adjusted score based on such factors as difficulty of the examination for this group of candidates, natural breaks in the scores achieved by this group of candidates, number of candidates, anticipated vacancies, and past practice.


Tentative Date for the Written Examination:

Tuesday, November 9th & Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Department Selection Interviews for Top Ranking Candidates
 will be held November 29th through December 3rd, 2021

Anticipated Start Date:
Tuesday, February 8th, 2022


A background investigation is required prior to employment. Candidates referred to departments for a selection interview are typically required to sign authorization and release forms enabling such an investigation. Failure to sign prescribed forms will result in the candidate not being considered further for that vacancy. Reference information will not be made available to applicants.

Additional requirements, such as successful completion of a physical exam, drug screen, etc., may apply, depending on the duties and responsibilities of the position. If you receive a conditional job offer for the position, the requirements upon which the offer are contingent will be outlined in the conditional job letter. You may also review the Job Classification Screening Schedule to determine the requirements for this position.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: As the largest employer in Sonoma County, the Board of Supervisors has adopted a vaccination and testing policy to help mitigate transmission of COVID-19. All County employees will be required to either have documented proof of full COVID-19 vaccination on file or consent to weekly COVID-19 testing.