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North Carolina DHHS, Wake County Partner to Ensure Consumers Receive Needed Benefits

 

For Immediate Release
Monday, July 22, 2013
Contact: news@dhhs.nc.gov
              919-855-4840

Raleigh, N.C. - In response to slower than average processing times for Wake County applications for food and nutrition assistance, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is providing on-site support and staff to Wake County Human Services. According to Wake Human Services Director Ramon Rojano, the transition to a new paperless system and an ongoing increase in cases have challenged existing county resources. Wake County commissioners recently approved funds to hire additional staff and increase technology support for the system.

"We are grateful for the assistance from DHHS and for the support of our county leadership," said Ramon Rojano, Wake Human Services Director. "Together, we are putting every available resource, including additional staff, towards meeting the needs of our growing community and providing quality customer service."

According to Rojano, Wake County's food stamps caseload has more than doubled in the last four years going from 19,000 in 2008 to 40,000 cases in 2012. Each month, the county processes nearly 4,000 recertifications for individuals and families to continue receiving benefits. DHHS and Wake Human Services have implemented several initiatives to help reduce the county's case backlog, including:

  • Creating a plan to meet customer demand and process claims in a timely fashion
  • Hiring 37 temporary workers to take care of the backlog
  • Providing six to nine self-service computers and support personnel in the Swinburne Building for customers to apply online for food and nutrition services
  • Restructuring operations of Wake's internal call center and customer triage team

"We applaud the actions Wake County is taking," said Wayne Black, director of the DHHS Division of Social Services. "As a former county director, I understand how important it is to have the support of county commissioners as well as state officials."

In addition to its main office in Raleigh, Wake Human Services operates four regional centers where clients can receive assistance. Rojano encourages applicants to use the state's on-line portal, ePass, to register for benefits at www.epass.nc.gov.

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