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Caseworkers’ jobs pose dangers

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: November 22, 2009
uot;I am replaceable as a state of Michigan employee. But I’m not replaceable to my friends and family.”

Massie grew fearful when a 6-foot-4, 250-pound man walked into in her office in the Upper Peninsula demanding that his application for emergency assistance be processed. She told him she was helping another client who had an appointment.

"He stood there. He stared me down,” said Massie, whose job is to determine if people are eligible for public assistance.

The man began cursing and questioning why he was not being helped. He eventually left. Workers learned later that he had a history of armed robberies and aggravated assaults.

About two out of every 10 Michigan residents receive some kind of state assistance. That’s 400,000 more than a year ago, and staffing levels at public-aid agencies are only slightly higher than before the recession.