Applicants For State Benefits Facing Delays In Processing
12/06/10 12:00PM By Jane Lindholm
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Vermont has been working to make it easier for people to apply for economic benefits, like food stamps, health insurance and housing assistance. There is a new central call center, set up so anyone who answers the phone can access records and answer questions. Applications can now be done on the web. And documents that are mailed in are now quickly scanned and entered into a digital database that can be accessed from anywhere in the state.
But despite the efforts to improve the system, for the last few months, there has been a growing backlog of benefit applications, keeping many people waiting much longer than state and federally-mandated 30 day period for their applications to be processed. We talk to Steve Dale, the Commissioner for the Department of Children and Families and Christopher Curtis, an attorney with the poverty law project at Vermont Legal Aid about what's causing the delays, and what's being done to address them.
Also on the program, the number of people incarcerated in Vermont is on the decline. We talk with Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito, who says the Vermont has more than 200 fewer inmates over last year.