The Montana state health department is closing some public services offices Friday to limit face to-face interaction amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Applications for safety-net services like SNAP food assistance, TANF cash assistance and health care coverage can be done online, phone, fax or mail.
"It’s just a different way of providing those essential services that we provide," says Sheila Hogan, director of the state health department.
Hogan says this won’t change the agency's ability to provide a social safety net.
The closures impact the Offices of Public Assistance, Child and Family Services; Vocational Rehabilitation; Vital Statistics, Women, Infants and Children; Child Support Enforcement; and the Developmental Disabilities Program.
Hogan says the office closures aim to protect vulnerable people that come into public offices.
There is no timeline for when public assistance offices will reopen.
The Public Assistance Helpline is 1-888-706-1535. People can also visit apply.mt.gov for assistance while offices are closed. Applications can also be sent via the Office of Public Assistance fax number at 1-877-418-4533 or by mail at:
Field Offices of Public Assistance
P.O. Box 202925
Helena MT 59620