As part of its ongoing commitment to its customers and its obligation under the D.C. Language Access Act, the D.C. Department of Human Services (“DHS”) Economic Security Administration (“ESA”) announces language access improvements in its city-wide ESA Service Centers. If you are an ESA customer with limited or no English proficiency, you should expect to receive:
- Assistance from an in-person or telephone interpreter or bilingual staff member in your preferred language if you tell an ESA Service Center employee that you want interpretation.
- Help, as needed, from a specially-trained language access Ombudsman within your ESA Service Center, who will:
- Communicate with you via an in-person or telephone interpreter or a bilingual ESA staff member who speaks your preferred language, if he or she does not speak your language.
- Be available to assist you with any difficulties you encounter obtaining services in your preferred language at an ESA Service Center throughout your visit.
- Help you navigate ESA’s process for resolving benefits concerns that relate to you not receiving language access services you requested, including by helping you to elevate problems through the Service Center and DHS with interpretation assistance in your preferred language.
- Confirm that you were able to resolve your language access-related benefits issues and complete your business during your ESA Service Center visit.
- Access to a back-up Ombudsman at your ESA Service Center, in case the designated Ombudsman is not available.
- Public posting of the names and contact information for the Ombudsman and back-up Ombudsman at your ESA Service Center, as well as online.
DHS also is establishing a new Language Access Customer Advisory Group (“LACAG”), which will advise DHS on language access issues and review DHS’s performance related to language access on a quarterly basis. For more information regarding the LACAG, please call Cheryl Coleman-Hall, ESA Deputy Administrator, Department of Program Operations at (202) 698-3929 or by mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.