Tax Credit/Health Justice Advocate (WNC Economic Recovery Program)
WNC Economic Recovery Program – Tax Credit/Health Justice Advocate
Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) is a community-based non-profit legal aid agency governed by a local Board of Directors. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina (WNC), Pisgah Legal Services provides free civil legal assistance to low-income people in WNC. The organization currently has offices in Asheville, Brevard, Burnsville, Hendersonville, Highlands-Cashiers, Marshall, Newland, and Rutherfordton. With over 100 dedicated staff, including over 30 attorneys plus program staff, and an active group of 300 volunteer attorneys, the program provides free services to over 20,000 people per year to meet their basic needs, primarily in the poverty law areas of housing, public benefits, domestic violence prevention, health care, immigration, and consumer law.
Nature of the Position: Pisgah Legal Service is introducing a new program, the WNC Economic Recovery Program to support our mission in 18 Western North Carolina counties as part of a multi-year grant funded expansion of anti-poverty work within the broad areas of free tax preparation/tax credits and outreach/enrollment for Affordable Care Act health insurance. Counties serviced include: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey. The WNC Economic Recovery Program is designed to have long-term impact through two main priorities: (1) reduce the child poverty rate in each WNC county and (2) increase the insured rate through quality, affordable health care coverage in each WNC county. The program will work in conjunction with the entire PLS legal aid staff to support expanding free legal assistance to help a growing number of low-income people each year to solve problems related to basic needs, particularly housing, domestic violence, health care, and insufficient income.
The Eastern Region Tax Credit and Health Justice Advocate will be responsible for ensuring that families and individuals gain access to quality health insurance coverage, as well as quality tax preparation services throughout the Eastern region of Yancey, Mitchell, Avery, McDowell, and Burke Counties. Position is based in Marion, NC.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Pass and maintain Advanced Tax Preparer, Intake/Interview and Quality Review, Volunteer Standards of Conduct, and Site Coordinator certifications through the IRS VITA Program on an annual basis. Trainings and support will be provided.
- Perform Quality Review, Intake and Interview, and tax preparation services for qualifying households through Pisgah Legal’s VITA Site(s). Program services may be offered in person, virtually, or a combination of the two.
- Know and counsel WNC residents regarding the benefits of child tax credits, earned income tax credits, and Affordable Care Act advanced premium tax credits.
- Provide tax preparation expertise to PLS VITA volunteers.
- Identify and contact taxpayers who may have a “good story” when requests come from media.
- Provide all information and services in a manner that is culturally and linguistically appropriate and ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
- Travel to Eastern Region counties for appointments, tax clinic and outreach.
- Attend PLS staff meetings and other meetings relevant to the WNC Economic Recovery Program.
- Provide referrals to appropriate agencies for taxpayers with grievances, complaints, questions, or need for other social services.
- Work with individuals in one-on-one appointments to support health insurance enrollment in the NC Marketplace or Medicaid;
- Successfully complete and pass the certification to become a CAC provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS);
- Work with a team of staff and volunteers collaboratively;
- Other duties as assigned.
- Understand and be willing to learn more about social determinants of health;
- Understand the basics of taxes, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit;
- Support the idea of access to quality healthcare for all people;
- Have demonstrated ability and/or experience working with the public;
- Possess strong computer skills and the ability to work in web-based software programs;
- Have reliable transportation and be available to drive to locations in the Western North Carolina area;
- Must be free from conflicts of interests, including payments and incentives from brokers, insurers or insurance industry; must not accept, directly or indirectly compensation from issuers related to enrollment in Qualified Health Plans (QHP) or Non-Qualified Health Plans;
- Possess socio-economic and cultural sensitivity and interpersonal skills necessary to communicate with people who may be angry, upset, or ill.
As a Certified Application Counselor (CAC), must be able to:
- Take 20 hours of initial web-based training and successfully complete and pass the Certification Training to be provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Must be recertified annually;
- Attend enrollment specific trainings as appropriate and maintain competency in enrollment topics;
- Attend staff meetings and other meetings relevant to Health Justice issues as indicated;
- Understand the needs of underserved and vulnerable populations;
- Understand eligibility and enrollment rules and procedures from CMS and the Health Insurance Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov);
- Learn and become familiar with the range of qualified health plan options and insurance affordability programs;
- Understand the financial implications of living without insurance for the chronically ill;
- Learn and become familiar with privacy and security standards;
- Be available to work night or weekend hours to meet the needs of the program during high need times;
Share information regarding the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM), including:
- Eligibility requirements for federal tax subsidies and cost-sharing subsidies;
- Eligibility for QHP on the FFM, Medicaid and North Carolina’s Health Choice and how to enroll in qualified health plans, Medicaid, and Health Choice on the marketplace website and/or ePass;
- Meet with individuals and facilitate plan selection based on the needs of the individual/family seeking health insurance coverage, assess tax implications and premium and cost-sharing requirements, application submission, renewal, and disenrollment processes;
- Help people understand how premium tax credits work and their potential financial impact;
- Facilitate eligibility determinations for QHP, Medicaid, Health Choice, and premium tax subsidies;
- Provide referrals to appropriate agencies, including the North Carolina Department of Insurance for applicants and enrollees with grievances, complaints, questions, or need for other social services
During open enrollment periods the emphasis is on CAC duties and job duties may shift to up to 100% of time.
As a certified Advanced Tax Preparer, must be able to:
- Study for and pass the Advanced Tax Exam, as well as the Intake and Volunteer Conduct exams, and recertify annually.
- Stay updated with new tax information as it comes out.
- Be aware of and adhere to all IRS VITA site guidelines.
- Meet with individuals remotely and at tax clinics to offer excellent service in filing their taxes.
Salary range is $36,327 - $67,953 annually depending on experience.
Our salary scale is predetermined based on the years of relative professional work experience that qualify for this position to ensure equity in pay. Pisgah Legal Services is a Living Wage Certified Employer in 18 WNC counties: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey.
Employees are eligible for medical, dental, vision and life insurance coverage the 1st of the month following the start date. Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) pays 100% of the Employee and 50% of the Dependent Cost for BCBS Medical and Dental coverage. PLS pays 50% of the Employee Coverage Cost for BCBS Vision coverage. PLS pays 100% of Long-Term & Short-Term Disability Coverage, Life Insurance Coverage of 5x base salary + an additional $15,000 Life & AD&D Coverage. 401k Retirement Plan after 6 months of employment. Additional Fringe Benefits includes Paid Parental Leave, 12.5 Company Holidays, 22 Paid Leave Days, Paid Sabbatical Leave for Attorneys, Employee Assistance Program for entire household and a great working environment with work life balance!
- Passion for and commitment to PLS’ mission, values and vision.
- Bachelor’s degree and one year of professional experience or equivalent experience required.
- Prior work experience working with outreaching to diverse populations.
- Prior tax preparation experience preferred.
- Prior ACA Health Insurance Marketplace experience preferred.
- Full-time: Available to work Monday to Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm, with flexibility for some evening and weekend shifts.
- Must be able to pass the Advanced Tax Preparer and Site Coordinator tests for the IRS Vita Program within two (2) weeks from start date.
- Must be able to pass certification process to become a Navigator/Certified Application Counselor provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
- Demonstrated skills at socio-economic and cultural sensitivity and the ability to work with clients who may be angry, upset, or ill.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with attention to detail.
- Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with teams and independently.
- Proficiency in both English and Spanish languages (verbal & written) is preferred.
- Possess a valid driver's license.
Submit your online application with resume and cover letter through our Career Center located at https://www.pisgahlegal.org/jobs
PLS invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how your unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice.
Pisgah Legal Services is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.
As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified persons with disabilities. Prospective and current employees are encouraged to discuss ADA accommodations with our Human Resources department.
COVID-19 Safety Information:
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Pisgah Legal Services has worked tirelessly to promote evidence-based practices across our entire organization. With this in mind, as of January 4th, all Pisgah employees will be required to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine. Employees who are unvaccinated or have an approved exemption will be required to provide verified weekly COVID-19 test results. We currently have COVID-19 safety precautions in place such as working remotely as our business allows, requiring face masks while meeting with clients or co-workers, providing outdoor meeting areas to meet with clients while wearing masks, limiting onsite visits by meeting virtually or by phone with clients. Pisgah Legal Services also conducts temperature checks at our location upon arrival.