DCF Reaches Agreement To Improve Benefits Processing

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(Host)  The Department for Children and Families says it’s speeded up the time it takes to process applications for benefits.

Many DCF clients have endured long delays when attempting to contact the department. 

In an agreement it reached with Vermont Legal Aid, DCF committed to eliminating its backlog of applications by the end of January.

Steve Dale is DCF commissioner. 

He says telephone callers have had to stay on hold for only a minute, down from 12 minutes. Benefits are no longer being allowed to expire because of the state’s delays. And he says more applicants are using an online system.

(Dale)  In terms of the issues that have been raised, we have absolutely turned the corner on having a system that’s accessible and responsive to people.  Obviously, there are ongoing issues relative to the ability to stay ahead of the current number of applications we’re receiving, and that’s really the focus of this agreement with Legal Aid. 

(Host) Dale says 20 new staff members will be working by February first, and other steps are being taken to improve service.

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