Concerns raised over problems with Dept. of Social Services - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Concerns raised over problems with Dept. of Social Services

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People have raised concerns about issues with DSS (WFSB) People have raised concerns about issues with DSS (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Those who are trying to get help from the Department of Social Services said they are running into problems.

People who are trying to get help with their benefits said they are finding themselves on hold, some for two hours.

Cyndie Rabideau, a mother from Suffield, panicked when health insurance for her disabled daughter was cut off.

She said it took hours on hold and 11 days before she finally got everything settled.

Her daughter Amanda as Autism and epilepsy, and is dependent on medication to prevent seizures.

Amanda is on Husky, which means the state takes care of her health insurance.

"I found out she didn't have insurance as of April 30. It stopped,” Rabideau said.

The next few days were scary. Rabideau said she spent over two hours on hold at the Department of Social Services, but still couldn't get answers.

She finally reached out to her congressman, who found out she needed to resubmit some papers.

"Even if you are not late and submit on time, often because they can’t keep up with the processing. The system says terminate because we have no indication the person is still eligible,” said Sheldon Toubman, of New Haven legal services.

Toubman said despite a new computer system, wait times at the DSS call center are worse.

In February 2016, the average wait time was about 10 minutes. This past November it was over an hour.

"We've not done a very good job at helping people understand how best to use the system. We've had attrition of staff over the last two years, we've had a new computer system which has slowed down or processing,” said DSS Commissioner Roderick Bremby.

Bremby said there are a few reasons, like a new system that requires training. They had fewer people, and the agency recently sent out over a million notices on benefits, which caused people to contact the call center.

Rabideau said she is doing the best she can. She works, and Amanda does too, at a farmer’s market.

"I am here to advocate for her, what about the people who don't have that,” Rabideau said.

DSS said they are working on making things better.

They said they’ve hired more people and their staff should now be up to speed on the new computer system.

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