How to Get a Social Worker

Art: Robin Mead

How to find a Case Worker or Social Worker to help you with whatever it is you are needing help with.

Start Here

🌷 Public Mental Health or Behavioral Health Agencies are often the best place to get a case worker or social worker. These programs serve people with a history of mental illness, substance abuse, or developmental disabilities. 

🌷 If you are not currently a client, you may be able to become a client and ask to get assigned a caseworker. Even if you do not have a previous history of mental illness diagnosis, you may be eligible if you are struggling with mental health issues.

🌷 Many of our readers report that this was the only agency in their area where they were able to get an ongoing caseworker who was helpful in a variety of areas.

🌷 Readers report that in other programs they were often given case workers who could only help a limited amount or for a limited time.

More Places to Look for Social Worker

🌷 If your doctor works as part of a hospital or university network, you can request that your doctor gives you a referral to an appointment with a Social Worker in their system. 

🌷 Area Agency on Aging (Call them even if you are young! They also serve younger people with disabilities.)

🌷 Also check this Eldercare Locator (Again, any age)

🌷 You can try your local community action agency. Ask if they provide case workers or if they can tell you where to call to find one.

🌷 Centers for Independent Living are run by people with disabilities and may have case workers on staff, or be able to help connect you to other disability resources in your area.

🌷 If you are in a Home Care program through Medicaid or Medicare they may be able to send a Social Worker or Case Worker to come to your house. In many cases these Social Workers can only help you with issues directly related to the home care program, but it is still worth asking.

🌷 State home care programs will allow you to select your own aide. It can be a friend, family member or neighbor, or you can advertise for someone to hire (the state pays the salary.) Some of our readers specifically looked for aides who are helpful with scheduling appointments, making phone calls, organizing medical paperwork, driving to doctor appointments, etc. 

🌷 Legal aide programs may be able to assist if you are having a problem with housing, medicaid, food stamps or other benefits programs.

🌷 If you are dealing with serious illness, see if there are any Palliative Care Programs in your area. These programs can provide caseworkers and other services. You can also look at Hospice and Palliative Care (some hospice programs are for end-of-life only, but some will serve other populations)

🌷 Don’t be afraid to reach out to local organizations and ask for help. The worst they can say is no, and if they cant help you, they may know someone who can! Try Veterans Administration, Health Clinics, Homeless Agencies, and your local Department of Social Services or Family Services. Also check – or dial 2-1-1 on your phone

🌷 In Minnesota: Highly recommended by readers: Minnesota Disability Hub

🌷 Your local department of Social Services may have Social Workers on staff. Many of our readers report they were not able to get a great deal of help this way, but it is worth trying. These agencies may be called “family services” or “social services” or “health and human services” or something else in your state.

🌷 If you have health insurance, you can contact your insurance company and ask if they have any kind of nurse coordinator or case manager who can help you coordinate your healthcare needs. (Warning: Mixed responses from readers. Some report these positions are very helpful. Others say they look for ways to cut services to help the insurance company save money.)

🌷 If you are homeless and have a mental illness diagnosis, you can look into Supportive Housing programs. Some of these programs provide safe, affordable housing as well as on-site case workers. Google “supportive housing” and the name of your state. 

🌷 Some insurance programs have social workers available for appointments. You can contact your insurance to see if they offer this. 

🌷 Finally, if you are ever in the hospital, you can request to meet with the hospital Social Worker. They can assist you while you are in the hospital. You can also ask them how you can continue to get help after you leave the hospital.

Applying for Disability

In addition to all the fine options above, if you need help with a disability application, you can also check out:

💠 SOAR for People who are Homeless or At Risk for Homelessness – For people with a mental illness diagnosis (or mental plus physical). Totally free and very high success rate. Most SOAR programs work with new applications and reconsiderations – not hearing appeals.

💠 Legal Aid – If you are low income, check with the legal aide program in your area. They usually won’t help with hearings, but some will provide free help with: New applications, reconsiderations, overpayment issues, or continuing disability review problems.

💠 Disability Advocacy in New York – Free assistance with disability applications and appeals for low income people who live in New York.

💠  Social Worker Disability Assessment Form – Most Social Workers are not trained in techniques to improve disability applications. Here’s a special form you can bring and work with them on.

Finding Social Workers Through Community Mental Health Centers
By Amaryllis

There are many options available for seeking a Case Worker, but in my experience, the best place to actually get your needs met are Community based mental health centers. Not all mental health centers have case workers. Call everywhere in your area until you find an agency that does. 

In some areas, you don’t have to have a mental illness to utilize these services. You can get these services if you are just experiencing the stress of an illness or disability. People have so much stigma that they often “don’t think they need that” or are too ashamed to reach out in that manner.

I worked for a community-based mental health agency (mostly made of therapists), and as a case manager, I applied with clients for disability, food benefits, SSI, etc. That was my former position before I became disabled.

My clients were all ages and ranged from just feeling stressed to having severe and persistent mental illnesses. Some worked with the psychiatrist or therapists in our organization, and some worked just with me. 

For community mental health services, usually, after the initial intake and assessment, the case worker will come to your house. Some places will even do an assessment at home. It just depends on the organization how involved the case manager is able to be with each client.


Working with Your Social Worker

Many Social Workers are extremely nice, helpful and smart. However, it is helpful to keep in mind that some Social Workers have huge case loads and little time for each person. If possible, it is great if you can also reach out to friends and family for support as well. Or you may be able to get help from more than one caseworker at more than one agency.

It may also be helpful to be aware that many Case Workers and Social Workers have expertise in one particular topic. For example, a home care Social Worker will know about Home Care services. A Food Stamps case worker will know the food stamps regulations. A housing Case Worker will know how to navigate housing.

If your Case Worker doesn’t know how to help you in a particular area, or thinks nothing is available, don’t give up hope. Keep looking.  

Thanks for Reading

🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌷 Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

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21 thoughts on “How to Get a Social Worker”

  1. Living in VA: My great grandma is taking care of my great grandpa who has Alzheimer’s but she’s getting too old to take care of them and I can’t pay my bills without working so much. No one else is here so help and I don’t know where to even start finding home care for him and long term care a little later. My ggma plans to move out of the state to live with her daughter and she would end up putting him in a living facility. She’s too stressed to take initiative and I’m only 22 so I don’t know what I need to do to get everyone where they need to be for this last part of their lives. I keep running into dead ends.


    1. Hi Kaitlyn,

      I’m sorry for the slow response. If you follow the links at the top of the page, you will find information and resources for how to apply for home aids. If your grandfather qualifies for Medicaid waiver program, you could be paid to take care of him, or you could hire someone to do it. I hope it goes well for your family.


  2. Thank your for this article. I will try to get a social worker stat! I have a therapist who wrote summary notes explaining why I need to be on disability, but my doctor will not. I am only 35, and because of that my primary care won’t help. The university he works under frowns upon it. Hopefully, getting a social worker and a second note as to why I need to be on disability, will help my case sooner.


  3. Hi all I need to know if my uncle married to someone n my uncle got stroke for a long time n my uncle is staying her daughter n the wife gone since my uncle got stroke so we need to know how the rules work for our side in situation like this for my uncle to get free divorce cause so called wife is been years went away she never come back for more info on what must we did pls


  4. I’ve been having test done for this last year I’ve had 6 sergerys on my abdomen, 3 particle colectomys, as hernia repairs by mesh placement in between the 2 ND and 3rd I had an abess to remove the nesh, waited 5 years to have the same opperation as first 2 (also hysterectomy ) but Noone can find what wrong and why I’m in so much pain I can hardly breath, other then that I have a very bad back I’ve been complaining since 2005 they say deneragitive disk and spinal stenosis, last time saw back doc he said there’s nothing he can do my lower 7 disk are rubbing and crumbling, opperations not an option, I’m 60 I don’t work live w boyfriend of 23 years , I asked my back doc to put me on disability he doesn’t do that see my doc. Saw my doc he don’t do that , apparently the back doc sent my doc wrong document because he put his arm around me and said just don’t strain bur nothing I can do but that’s not what the report to my doc say. Question he didn’t bother to look at my cat scan or mru. Just kind of shooed me out door. So neither doc will put me on disability (they don’t do that) and I’m here in this bed most all day I have pills but after about 3 hours in mornings I can’t move , I’m breaking and fast been telling them for years. But no one to help


  5. have a friend but dont know where or how to help. he draws a check but isnt allowed to do what he needs like have a home of his own. a financial advisor is using his money he says. she will give him a hundred here and there to spend and stay off her back. right now he is homeless, has a mental condition. please let me know what to do i have enough on me im disabled and my husband is also and we have a young daughter so i need him to go to his own place. he needs everything food to clothes but doesnt have anyone that can let him stay with. his family has severe issues drinking and abuse. please help him


    1. I am glad you are trying to help your friend. I hope you can follow the links above – contact independent living center, also contact aging and disability resource center in your area. I hope they will be able to help him get connected with help in your community.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I found this page doing a GOOGLE search for “How to get help from a social worker”. I had a nervous breakdown a few years ago, and since then, extreme anxiety has encumbered my efforts to work a steady job or address the issues that caused me to break down.

    I followed the advice of my healthcare company and it was a disaster and waste of time, as well as costing me a lot of money. I tried to get help from a local care facility and went to three separate facilities, with different “specialists” each time. I found they lied to me frequently and did not listen to my concerns. Now I have a strong distrust of mental care facilities and their self-titled “experts”.

    I have talked to four different counselors, and only two seemed compatible, but I can’t afford their services. I work minimum wage and can’t even pay all of my bills, or address my debts. The only truly helpful resource I had was a volunteer discussion group, where I listened and talked with other people who had issues and learned about their experiences. In general, it was a lesson that good help is very difficult to get unless you are wealthy, and like me, many people are just a mis-step from total collapse.

    Most days I’m okay, but a few times a month I have anxiety that’s severe enough to disrupt my activities or work. Being fragile about my condition, I react angrily when my healthcare is disrupted, or when I get conflicting information from healthcare workers and services. I frequently feel unable to help myself to get better or improve my circumstances, but I only have anger with healthcare personnel, because they should know how to help me. I’ve come to the conclusion that I still need help, but I’m not sure where to turn.


    1. Hi I’m in need of help I’m living with someone right now because I have no where else to go and I’ve been trying to find a job but I haven’t got no help. I applied for cash assistance but I’ve got no call back for anyone. I’m 19 years old. I have a 10 month old daughter I just need someone help trying to get on my feet.


      1. I don’t know if you’re still here but look up maybe they can help. I’m so sorry that it’s so hard to receive help when even asking for it can seem daunting.


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