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Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Feds Force DHS to Streamline Food Stamp Processing
By News Release @ 3:34 AM :: 3661 Views :: Energy, Environment

Dept of Human Services updates processing system

News Release from Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS) and its Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) have launched their Business Processing Re-engineering Project (BPRP) on Maui and the Hawaii Island. Residents who apply for public assistance programs (food stamps, cash, Medicaid), and the eligibility workers that process their applications, are reporting significant improvements in timeliness.

Maui eligibility worker Aranda Kahaialii said, “The application processing is much quicker under the new system. If applicants have all their required paperwork in order at the Income Maintenance Office, they should be able to complete the application the same day they apply.”

BPRP converts the current Case Management system to a Process Management system. The goal is to review and determine applicant eligibility within the federally-mandated period of 30 days, and within 7 days for emergencies. DHS Director Patricia McManaman said, “Families arriving at our offices need help now, not months down the road.” (And we don’t want to lose federal funding just because of the HGEA.)

The Maui unit is reporting an average of 78 percent same-day services since launching BPRP in early November. On the first day of BPRP implementation in late November 2011, the North Hilo unit processed 74 percent of transactions on the same day clients applied for benefits. South Hilo processed 77 percent of its transactions on the same day.

Over the past year, the SNAP caseload increased 11.1 percent. Coupled with reduced staffing as a result of the hiring freeze, and the reduction in force initiatives of pervious years, DHS experienced a growing backlog of cases. With BPRP, DHS is reducing case backlogs and shortening the waiting time for receipt of benefits. Applications are no longer given to a single case worker. Instead, they are handled by several workers who are assigned to specific stages of the review process – Intake, Interviewing, Pending, Processing and Maintenance.

SNAP administrator, Linda Tsark said, “It’s getting so exciting to watch this unfold and realize the amount of meaningful work that is being accomplished and the difference we are making in the lives of our clients and our workers.“

The Income Maintenance units in Kapolei, Oahu will launch their re-engineering project in early 2012. The Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division will continue to analyze and review BPRP processes and operations, including policies, procedures, and future system needs.

---30---

Remember this? HGEA Cried Bloody Murder, but now they go along like little sheep: Koller: State’s “horse-and-buggy” system is labor-intensive, costly and slow

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