CommonHelp Launches from Fairfax County

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Governor Bob McDonnell announced the launch of CommonHelp, an easy-to-use and secure website that will provide Virginians with the ability to apply for public assistance benefits online. People will also be able to screen for which benefits they may be qualified to receive, check on the status of applications, and update or renew their cases.

The Governor’s announcement was held in conjunction with a press conference the South County Government Center in Fairfax. Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. William A. Hazel, was joined by the Virginia Department of Social Services’ Commissioner, Martin D. Brown, to unveil CommonHelp to non-profit associations, community partners and media outlets.

Fairfax County was chosen as the location for the press conference because the Fairfax County Department of Family Services has been going through a significant business process redesign with the goal of streamlining the delivery of services to create more capacity to serve our community. When the Virginia Department of Social Services asked us to be one of the local departments of social services to pilot CommonHelp, we accepted the invitation with great enthusiasm knowing that our team was ready for the challenge. CommonHelp was a success from the start. Our customers are able to access services online from the convenience and privacy of their own homes or from any other place where a computer is available to them such as public libraries, a friend’s house, and community centers. CommonHelp is especially beneficial to working families because they don’t have to take time off to stand in line at an office. It’s also more efficient to process online applications, allowing the Fairfax County Department of Family Services to make better use of limited resources.

In September 2012, almost 75 percent of our SNAP applications were submitted online, as well as 95 percent of TANF applications, 66 percent of our childcare applications and 48 percent of Medicaid applications.

Get more information about CommonHelp. Watch a video about the event.




Secretary William Hazel unveils the CommonHelp website.


Secretary William Hazel and Commissioner Martin Brown
pose in front of one of the computers available
in the DFS lobby for residents to use for CommonHelp.


DFS Self-Sufficiency Division Director Juani Diaz
is interviewed by Fairfax County's Channel 16.

Secretary William Hazel and Self-Sufficiency Division Director Juani Diaz in front of a CommonHelp poster.



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