Newsroom > DHHS News Release

April 13, 2012
Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287 or (402) 450-7318
ACCESSNebraska phone wait times hit all-time low
Lincoln – Nebraskans calling ACCESSNebraska to apply for, check and change benefits saw continued improvement in wait times during March, according to Thomas Pristow, director of Children and Family Services in the Department of Health and Human Services.
“While some calls were longer and some shorter, the average phone wait times at the end of February was 5 minutes 51 seconds,” Pristow said. “The average in March improved nearly two minutes to 3 minutes 57 seconds. Since the last customer service center began operating in late January, and staff is gaining more experience, the call wait times have continued to fall and we expect them to get even better."
With the passage of LB825, the department is evaluating the number and location of field staff to be hired in the upcoming months to provide additional help with economic assistance services, he said.
In response to the Legislature passing and Governor Dave Heineman signing LB 825, he said a limited number of field staff will be hired in the upcoming months to provide additional help with economic assistance services.
Calls to the ACCESSNebraska phone number (1-800-383-4278) totaled 184,091 in March, and 39 percent were handled through the self-service interactive voice response system, Pristow said. The remaining calls were sent to the Customer Service Centers located in Lincoln, Fremont, Scottsbluff and Lexington.
A total of 14,597, or 61 percent, of the applications for public assistance were received online in March, which was 1,500 more than in February, he said.  Face-to-face appointments with social service workers are an option and can be scheduled by calling the toll-free number.
More than 106,400 documents sent by public assistance recipients were scanned in March, representing about 398,600 pages. After scanning, the documents are available online for social service workers to use when talking with recipients, Pristow said.