Sad Day for Hawaii's Neediest
By Lillian B. Koller, Director Hawaii Department of Human Services
Statement Regarding Passage of Senate Bill 2650
This is a sad day for the neediest men, women and children of Hawaii.
The reason we created the Eligibility Processing Operations Division last month is to deliver Medicaid, welfare, food stamps and other public benefits to our customers as quickly and conveniently as possible.
If Senate Bill 2650 becomes law, it will not harm our customers on Oahu. They will enjoy the advantages of a 21st century processing system that enables people to apply for benefits online, by phone, mail, fax and in-person.
The customers who will be harmed are those living on the Neighbor Islands, where the backlog of applications for public assistance grows larger every day. Conditions are especially bad in Maui County, where people are already waiting three to four months for scheduled appointments – just to get started applying for essential aid.
The majority party Legislators who voted for this bill are trying to preserve an antiquated and inefficient processing system for one reason – it requires lots of government workers to do the job.
It is shameful to put the interests of government workers above the needs of our customers.
Our mission at the Department of Human Services is to help the most vulnerable among us by giving them fast and easy access to the food, medical care and other benefits our customers are entitled to receive.
Bill Text & Status: SB2650