PRESTON, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho Department of Health and Welfare office in the small town of Preston that helped people apply for Medicaid, food stamps, child care assistance and other benefits will close next month.
The state's lease for the space expires at the end of June. The office hasn't been open to the public for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The three Preston employees will keep working for the department, and officials said people would still be able to apply for self-reliance benefits by phone, fax machine or online. The next closest office — about 70 miles north in the city of Pocatello — will remain open to the public.
“While closing an office is not without some impact, we want to assure individuals and families that services are still available,” department director Dave Jeppesen said in a prepared statement. “The department enjoyed a long-standing and close partnership with the building owner for many years, but the need for face-to-face services has diminished and most of the work can be completed virtually.”
The department will still provide in-person services to people in the region for some programs like behavioral health and child protection services.
There are 18 other department offices open to the public across the state.