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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 2, 2009

CONTACT
Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Sound bites on this topic are available at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx

 

ACCESSNebraska Hits Milestone: DHHS Has Processed More Than 6,400 Applications On-line

Lincoln –ACCESSNebraska, an on-line screening tool and application process from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), has helped more than 6,400 people apply for public assistance on-line since becoming available September 8, 2008.

Through ACCESSNebraska , low-income Nebraskans can apply for benefits any time and any where from any computer that has Internet access. The on-line screening tool and application is available at www.ACCESSNebraska.ne.gov

People can apply on-line for Medicaid, food stamp benefits, Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), Assistance to the Aged, Blind or Disabled (AABD), energy assistance, Kids Connection and child care assistance. They can also use a screening tool that helps them see what assistance they may be eligible to receive.

“ACCESSNebraska is a big step forward in the way we do business and helps us serve our clients more efficiently and effectively,” said Todd Landry, Director of the Division of Children and Family Services. “The fact that the very first on-line application was submitted by a citizen from Ord is a reminder of how this improves accessibility for people in rural communities.”

On-line applications submitted during business hours are received in the local DHHS office that same day. Since people can apply on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, applications submitted after hours, on weekends and on holidays are received in the local office the next business day. So far, approximately 34 percent of the applications are being sent during non-business hours.

“Being able to apply for benefits on-line makes us more accessible to clients, and that helps improve our outreach efforts,” said Landry. ACCESSNebraska simplifies the application process as well because clients are only answering questions relative to the situation they’re in and the assistance they are applying for, said Landry.

People don’t have to own their own computers, either, to use ACCESSNebraska. DHHS works with community partners like libraries and senior centers that offer Internet access. Many DHHS offices also have computers and kiosks for clients to use.

“ACCESSNebraska is an investment in technology,” Landry said. “It helps address the needs of Nebraskans today and is the best way to modernize and prepare for the future by providing efficient and accessible services.”

Future upgrades to ACCESSNebraska include the ability for clients to check their case status and report any situation changes on-line. Now when clients want to check application information, they can call DHHS’ automated voice response system at 1-800-383-4278, or, in Lincoln (402) 323-7455. The automated voice response system, available in English and Spanish 24 hours a day, seven days a week, can tell clients:

  • when their application was received;
  • how long DHHS has to process that application; and
  • general information about the status of a client’s food stamps, ADC, child care, Medicaid or AABD case for a maximum of three months (prior month, current month and next month).


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