Social Services: State Software Severely Stalls Assistance

Nov 19, 2014

There are still major problems with new state software, which is supposed to speed up processing of government assistance claims.

Credit ncfast.gov

The software NCFAST was supposed to let counties spend more time on providing assistance and less on paperwork. The deputy director of social services in Mecklenburg County, Rodney Adams, last night told county commissioners the opposite is happening.

“The system continues to hamper operational efficiency,” Adams said. “Processing times have doubled. System issues have constantly required case rework.”

He says the problems have been continual since the state rolled out the software more than a year ago to process food stamp applications. Delays got so bad—three months in some cases—that the state nearly lost federal funding for the food stamp program.

Use of the NCFAST software expanded last month to process Medicaid claims. Adams says a claim used to take half an hour; now, it takes two-and-a-half. Meanwhile, the program is still responsible for problems with food stamps.

“Initially over 600 Food and Nutrition Services cases had their benefits stopped for no reason,” Adams said. “This continues to occur daily, requiring diligent effort from staff to ensure customers do not experience delays in benefit receipt due to system issues.”

Adams told commissioners the software has cost the county an additional $1.6 million, largely to pay for overtime and hire temporary staff. He says his department plans to hire another 70 employees over the next three months to deal with the continued delays.