DHSS BENEFITS PORTAL GETTING BETTER, BUT AGENCY WANTS MORE FUNDING

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

AccessNebraska-1       The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is asking lawmakers for an additional $2.1 million to help pay telephone-service costs for ACCESSNebraska, the state’s telephone and online public benefits portal.

Officials predicted a cost savings when the system was launched in 2008, but Children and Family Services division director Thomas Pristow told the Unicameral’s Appropriations Committee Tuesday that those estimates were too optimistic and that the agency is working to reduce costs and phone wait-times.

ACCESSNebraska has been criticized for long wait-times both online and by phone, but Pristow said wait-times and employee workloads at the call centers have been dropping…and that a decision to switch from a toll-free number to a local phone number for Lincoln residents is saving about $1,000 a day.

Senator John Harms of Scottsbluff told Pristow he’s still hearing complaints about the system from constituents, some of whom don’t have computers or telephone access.