Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
July 7, 2016

Contact
Russ Reno, DHHS Public Information Officer, (office) 402-471-8287 or
(cell) 402-450-7318, or russ.reno@nebraska.gov 

ACCESSNebraska Now Takes Economic Assistance Applications by Phone, Sends Email Alerts to Help Expedite Benefits

Lincoln— New ACCESSNebraska services now provide faster service by taking applications over the phone, and sending notifications via email to clients.

During June, more than 3,200 applications and re-certifications for Economic Assistance benefits were received by phone, and more than 17,600 had signed up to receive email notices about their accounts.

“I applaud DHHS for continuing to improve services for our most vulnerable Nebraskans by utilizing technology to make their service more customer friendly and focused,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “This adds to a wide array of e-government improvements that are helping cut bureaucratic red tape and streamline the delivery of our services.”

“Improving our services to clients is our ongoing goal,” said Courtney Phillips, DHHS chief executive officer. “These new services provide benefits more quickly and make the application and notification processes more convenient for clients. We are committed to seek ways to improve our services for Nebraskans.”

“When clients call ACCESSNebraska wanting Economic Assistance programs, they can talk with an employee who completes their application or re-certification,” said Doug Weinberg, director of Children and Family Services in the Department of Health and Human Services. “This service is especially helpful to people who may not have access to a computer.”

The advantage, he said, is that about 60 percent of all phone applications and re-certifications for services are completed the day of the call. This makes benefits available almost immediately. In addition, when employees talk directly with a client they can clarify the information provided, which reduces their time working on a case.

Eventually, it’s expected that at least 20 percent of an average of 24,000 applications and re-certifications received each month will be handled by the new phone service.
Email notifications also are new for Economic Assistance clients. ACCESSNebraska previously sent email notifications only to Medicaid clients. Clients can sign up by calling ACCESSNebraska to receive email alerts instead of a mailed letter. The email advises clients to go to their ACCESSNebraska account to view the information. While email notifications are received the same day, mailed letters may take two days or more to reach clients.
 
Calder Lynch, director of Medicaid and Long-Term Care said email notices have worked well with clients. “If we need more information from a client, email notices result in a faster turnaround for the client and ACCESSNebraska. And, we are able to process their case quickly so clients receive their benefits sooner.”

“We also save money on printing and mailing costs, and that will only grow as more clients participate,” Weinberg said.

Clients wanting to receive email notices can sign up on the ACCESSNebraska website at www.accessnebraska.ne.gov after logging into My Account and clicking on My Preferences, or by calling ACCESSNebraska.

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