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Dept. of Human Services says it is proud of improved turn-around time

ANNAPOLIS — Officials of Maryland’s Department of Human Resources boasted to a House Appropriations Committee subcommittee Tuesday about exceeding the court-ordered number of quick turned-around claims for Marylanders on public assistance.

These programs aid families in need. The Temporary Cash Assistance program provides money, and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program provides subsidies for food.

The Baltimore City Circuit Court ordered the department to process at least 96 percent of applications within 30 days after a 2009 lawsuit claimed the department was not routinely processing applications for assistance programs within the federal and state required timeline of 30 days.

In the last 11 months, the department went from 83 percent compliance to more than 96 percent compliance, said Interim Secretary Ted Dallas.

Dallas blamed the slow processing on the shortage of employees in recent years and the increase of Marylanders who are in need of public assistance.

“In 2000 to 2005, Department of Human Resources experienced a 38 percent increase in the number of people enrolled in the federal food stamp program,” Dallas said. “From 2006 through today, the agency has seen a 116 percent increase in enrollment.”

Department employees reported that while making court-ordered progress in processing food stamps and temporary cash assistance, they saw success in other programs.

Deputy Secretary Stacy Rodgers focused on the Work Participation Program, which allows Marylanders to be placed in training and work-release programs to prepare them for life after public assistance.

“Our work participation rate is 41.7 percent.  People who have gotten a job through Human Resources have a 72 percent job-retention rate,” she said.

Dallas said improvements to various processes brought success to programs department wide.

“This change occurred because we dealt with the problem on four main fronts,” Dallas said. “We updated our policies and practices, we provided more training and support to our front-line staff, we adopted — and began using — new technology.”

The department implemented ways for applications to be completed online and accessed by department staff more efficiently.

Subcommittee members asked whether the department would be able to continue to process all the applications within a 30-day period. Rodgers said he thinks so.

He explained that although the litigation is ongoing, the Department of Human Resources has filed a motion with the court to dissolve the injunction. Staff is dedicated to upholding the momentum they’ve had in the past 11 months, she said.

One comment

  1. A girl goes to a Washington dc dhs office and asks to speak to her assigned case worker. The wait takes up her entire day. At eight o clock in the morning she sits in a wobbling chair in the gum stuck waiting room floor. After being their for nearly three hours the security officer shows up on his black time. The officer approaches the girl and asks her for an id. The girl hands the officer her id and he walks towards the front desk. After talking the the receptionist, the girl is called up to the front desk. The two adults tell the girl that she can not be seen by a case worker without a parent or adult representative present. With blood shoot eyes the girl looks to her approaching case worker and says that she is her to be emancipated on the base of physical and mental abuse by her care takers in addition to the misuse of her monthly funds through the system. The case worker takes another person to the back and shakes her head in shame. Although the girl has stated her problems in a proper way the staff states that a formal complaint can not be made by a minor alone. The girl pulls out four journals that where held in her book bag. Receptionist takes the top journal and reads two paragraphs then calls a supervisor. In hand the receptionist walks to the boss and the girl is asked to follow this stoned face man. One the second floor of the dhs building the girl sits in a room alone for three more hours. People come and go past the girl with questions and facts needed to place in her family file. All the data collected co insides with the dates of benefit payment and the staff can not believe the truth that is revealed. In the stoned faced mans hand is a manila envelope that is fourteen inches long, barley covers aged papers. He finally speaks and the girls emotions rise to an all time high. They can not help at this moment but all will be investigated.
    A girl now turned teen goes to the Washington dhs office and her case worker is no longer associated with the office. Due to his ending emotional attachment to all of his cases he is let go from his tittle with a severance insincere. With growth in her belie she heads to another case worker unfamiliar with her case. This staff member does not like to read files, so she asks all renewal questions each time the teen comes to her office. When asked if the investigation has made any leeway, the case worked says that their are not any notes in the system.
    A high school graduate goes to the pg county dhs office. She waits four hours and is then told that she can not receive benefits because a job has been held when she went to school. The day care benefits, food stamps, and rental help will be back dated if the funds collected during this time exceeded the amounts listed on a chart beside the case workers computer. Due to the graduates can due attitude it has hurt her child’s future. A family apologetic with out words asks to watch their grand child while her mom works two jobs and goes to college on-line at night. Moms baby now walks and talks entering the work place. The child cries as she says good bye to mom, for she can not stay while mommy finishes her fourteen hours at work. Grades start to fall as mom is offered a management position. The guilt builds in a conversation with family members. A daughter tells mom that she has sat on an uncle non uncles lap. Being that mom was molested by relatives and told to keep it all inside, she works even harder than ever. Another relationship has fallen and mom is back with the people that treat abuse as love. Changing schools and work hours shows a daughter that mommy can be better.
    A women enters into Montgomery county Maryland dhs center with used tissues in her left hand and a petite hand in her right. The child is not happy to sit with the many crying children around the waiting room. Strangers say hello to mom with bad intentions. The system takes in past convects as well as law abiding citizens. The women is called and much is a blur. The jest of the result is that all has been done incorrectly. A case worker asks to be blunt and the women agrees. If you did not know the father of your child we could help. Had you stayed unemployed with a gap in your work history that may have helped. You could have even stayed in the abuse instead of moving out at sixteen and again after school, might have deemed you nearly unfit. If you would have stopped your education when having a baby at fifteen. Instead of completing two years of college, we may have helped. You don’t have a sex, or drug addiction from the abuse, that means no rehab. We could have given you benefits as you completed those classes. Due to your stride in assisting yourself, we can not offer any of our services to you. Our program is for lazy people, dead beats, and others. We have things in place for you to attend classes forty hours a week, parenting classes, and we get all of your juicy details leaving no doors closed. I know that you can not pay your bills, rent, and go with out eating for days. I see that you mend your casual clothes, shop at suit for change, meet the volunteer hours, educated your child, and respect yourself. FOR ALL THE RIGHT THINGS THAT YOU HAVE DONE, WE CAN NOT HELP YOU. GOOD LUCK. NEXT PLEASE…….