Newsroom > DHHS News Release

March 16, 2012
Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Phone wait times continue to decline for public assistance
Lincoln – Applying for, checking and changing benefits continues to become more convenient as Nebraskans saw shorter phone wait times and an ongoing high level of Internet applications in February, according to Scot Adams, interim director of Children and Family Services with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Adams said the phone wait times for benefits recipients calling ACCESSNebraska (1-800-383-4278) continued to fall with the opening in late January of the fourth Customer Service Center in Lexington. At the end of 2011, wait times averaged 8 minutes 3 seconds, but by February they fell to 5 minutes 51 seconds. The Department continues to strive for even shorter wait times, and now has 346 staff in the Customer Service Centers assigned to answering calls.
“As more employees came online and gained experience, they exceeded the statewide goals for the month,” he said. “This is a tremendous step forward in providing a more convenient service to Nebraskans.”
Calls made to ACCESSNebraska totaled 187,304 in February, and 44 percent of them were handled through the self-service interactive voice response system, Adams said. The remaining calls were sent to the Customer Service Centers.
A total of 13,084 applications for public assistance were received online in February, which was comparable to the number received in recent months, he said. Of all applications received, 61 percent were received electronically. Since the start of ACCESSNebraska in September 2008, more than 356,000 applications were sent to DHHS online, he said.
Documents submitted to ACCESSNebraska are posted for access by social service workers. Last month, 80 percent of those were sent via the mail, fax, email or the ‘submit documents’ option online, and 19 percent were taken to local offices, Adams said. Since document imaging was initiated, nearly 11.3 million pages have been scanned. In February alone, ACCESSNebraska received 389,988 pages, which were contained in about 109,000 documents.