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Purpose: To describe worker responsibilities (where applicable) in identifying the need for and providing services to LEP individuals.
- To ensure LEP individuals receive adequate services:
- Identify the individual’s primary language at first contact.
- Enter the correct Primary Language Code (PLC) into the Primary Language field in ACES. Primary language should be periodically discussed with the individual, and the PLC should be reviewed and updated as necessary. Care should be taken to not inadvertently change the PLC. Incorrect PLCs result in untimely and inadequate notice to individuals, as well as increased translation costs.
- Inform LEP individuals of their right to interpreter (verbal) and translation (written) services and that these services are available to them without charge or significant delay. This includes informing walk-in individuals.
Note: Use the services of an interpreter if you feel you are unable to communicate with the individual well enough to provide quality services, even if the individual tells you they do not need an interpreter.
- Provide interpreter and translation services in a timely manner so that LEP cases can be processed timely.
- Indicate any language needs on all referrals of LEP individuals to other divisions, administrations, or agencies.
- Provide LEP individuals with the same safeguards of confidentiality as provided to English proficient individuals.
- Provide assistance to LEP individuals in understanding and completing forms. Remember that LEP individuals may have learning disabilities, cognitive problems and/or may not be literate in their native language. Include screening for Equal Access -- See Equal Access Chapter.
- In the event that there are no available employee or contractor resources to serve an LEP individual in their primary language, an exception to policy may be made. This may include contacting refugee service providers, client advocates, member’s of the individual’s community (e.g., church or community center), and as a last resort, friends or family members (children should never be used as interpreters) to ask for their assistance in facilitating communication with the individual. Any exception to policy must be documented in the ACES narrative.
- Provide fully translated forms in the primary language of the LEP individual whenever appropriate:
- Many forms are available in non-English languages on the HCA website.
- If the form is not available online, and has not been translated into the language needed for the individual, make a request for the form to be translated through your the agency or office Translation Coordinator (for example, the CSO Translation Coordinator (CSO TC)). The Translation Coordinator will submit a translation request. Translation work is usually completed in 1-2 weeks.
- Provide fully translated publications in the primary language of the individual whenever appropriate.
- Some translated publications are on the HCA website.
- Publications needed in languages not available online can be ordered.
- Provide locally generated/individual specific documents in the primary language of the individual whenever appropriate.
- Translation of locally generated, specific documents are provided by authorized bilingual employees or requested directly from an authorized translation services contractor.
- Upon receiving completed translation work:
- Make a copy of the English and translated documents.
- Mail the originals of both documents to the individual.
- Send copies of the English and translated documents to DMS to be imaged into the electronic case record. If an exact duplicate of the English document is already in the ECR, do not send another copy to DMS.
- Continue benefits through the advance notice period if the action requires advance notice and the fully translated letter is mailed within the 10-day advance notice period.
- On the Address (ADDR) screen (mainframe) or ACES.Online screening Applicant Page:
- Enter the individual's PLC for the language the individual reads and understands. For individuals that do not read any language, the PLC should be "EN" for English. The PLCs are listed in alphabetical order by language on F1 Help from the PLC field. If the individual's language is not listed, enter "OT" (for other language) and enter the name of the language in REMARKS behind the ADDR screen.
- If the individual needs assistance with communicating verbally, indicate that an interpreter is needed in the Interpreter Needed field and enter the name of the language in REMARKS behind the ADDR screen if it is different than the language identified in the Primary Language field.
- Document the following information in the ACES Narrative:
- All efforts to secure LEP services, including when efforts are unsuccessful. Document how the client was served if an exception to policy was made.
- The date a translation request was given to the CSO translation coordinator.
- The date a translated letter, form or publication was mailed or given to the individual.
- The name a the interpreter who provided services for an interview with an LEP individual.