Let's Make Home Happen

March 2018, Volume 6 Issue 9

Ask an Expert: CounselorMax Answers Their Most Frequently Asked Questions

The Bridge asked NeighborWorks America, owner of CounselorMax, to answer some frequently asked questions about the client management system. Learn more about the service below!

How do I ensure my clients will show up on the HUD-9902 when I report out of CounselorMax?

There are a few things in CounselorMax that must be completed to ensure data integrity. You must have an appointment either in the Calendar or the Log, which will allow you to pick a HUD purpose. You may select more than one purpose and report them all in one reporting period. HUD purposes are mandatory to populate the 9902. If there is education involved, you must enroll and show the client attended the group session and that will automatically populate in the 9902. Closing out a case is not necessary for your client to show up on the 9902.

I make sure that I select a HUD service type in CounselorMax – isn’t that enough to get my client on the HUD-9902?

HUD Service types are no longer relevant to the 9902 report in CounselorMax.

When should I select Impact and Scope for a case?

Impact and Scope are completed once the activity that you are reporting has occurred. You will notice that they are all in past tense, which means you will only complete after such activity occurs. Impact and Scope are optional at the time you are reporting, which means not selecting them won’t prevent your client from being reported. However, after you have completed any of those specific activities listed, it is important that you go back into the appointment and make sure that you have selected an Impact and Scope so it is reflected in your 9902 reporting. Like the HUD purposes, you may select multiple Impacts and Scopes in any given reporting period.

What is the purpose of the HUD Activity checkbox in CounselorMax?

The HUD Activity checkbox is there for an organization to identify clients that will be billed against their HUD grant. This box should only be used if you have received grant dollars as part of a Notice of Funding Availability that you have applied for. As a HUD reporting agency, CounselorMax will automatically report your clients in the “ALL Counseling” column of the 9902. To show clients in the second column – which are clients that you are billing against your Notice of Funding Availability –  the HUD Activity box must be checked. After checking that box, a second drop down menu will appear in which you can select the appropriate Notice of Funding Availability that you are billing against. (NOTE: if you make this selection and it is not a Notice of Funding Availability that you are approved for, you will receive an error message at the time of transmittal to HUD’s Housing Counseling System.)

How do I know which Notice of Funding Availability I should apply my clients to?

You should contact your HUD rep if you are unsure which Notice of Funding Availability you applied for. The CounselorMax team will not be able to tell you what Notice of Funding Availability you should be billing to.

I tried a transmission to HUD’s Housing Counseling System, but got an error message saying the data was rejected. What is causing this error?

The most likely cause of this error is that you have selected “HUD activity” and assigned a Notice of Funding Availability that is the incorrect number; or, you have not been approved for a Notice of Funding Availability and therefore cannot submit your report with billing that you are charging to HUD.

When is it appropriate for me to use the “Not billed to HUD” selection on the dropdown menu for the HUD Activity Type in my appointment or education?

You should only make this selection on a counseling activity when you are not attributing an appointment or group education session to the HUD Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grant. You should never select this on the intake where you would select a specific Notice of Funding Availability, right after the HUD Activity checkbox.

What’s the best way to get help with my questions regarding CounselorMax?

You may contact the help desk at any time. Please note that the help desk is only open from the hours of 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET and that there may be a delay in response if the desk is closed. The best way to reach the CounselorMax Support Team is by email to CounselorMaxsupport@nw.org.

I would like training for myself or my organization on CounselorMax. What is the best way to do this?

CounselorMax provides FREE training every other month via webinar. Each “Ask the Expert” series covers a variety of topics from general navigation of CounselorMax to customization and final reporting. CounselorMax is taught live at every NeighborWorks America® National Training Institute. These are held three times a year in locations across the United States. This is a fully immersive course that lasts three days in a full computer lab, which allows you to practice in a live CounselorMax training environment. NeighborWorks America® has not authorized or certified any other organization to teach CounselorMax. Please contact us about your training needs via email at CounselorMax@nw.org and we will be in touch about your training options.

A Note from the Office of Housing Counseling: HUD approves client management systems for compliance with HUD reporting requirements; however, HUD is not responsible for the quality of the services provided to housing counseling agencies by the client management systems.

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