Time, Patience, Justice

Here at Nebraska Appleseed, we have heard a lot about ACCESS Nebraska, the new system for managing Health and Human Services programs using on-line applications and call centers instead of caseworkers. We’ve heard from intake callers, folks who participated in listening sessions this fall, and people who testified at the interim study hearing and bill hearing.

The case for action is compelling. People have had long waits trying to access call centers. Documents have been lost in processing centers. Information from call centers has been inconsistent. Community-based organizations have had to redirect their resources to prevent vulnerable Nebraskans from falling through the cracks. Service providers haven’t been paid for services rendered on a timely basis.

In all that we have heard about the system, one comment stands out from an individual who testified about frustrations with the system. “I have patience.” He said, “not a lot of time, but some patience.” Users of the system are doing their part, working to communicate with the call centers and provide information. Clients, community organizations, and service providers have been patient since the beginning of the process in 2008.

But problems remain. These problems can be solved in part by LB 825. This bill will make improvements to ACCESS Nebraska and make it work better for everyone.

LB 825 will establish staff at existing local offices to directly assist customers with applications and renewals. It will provide dedicated caseworkers to people with physical or mental disabilities and some elderly individuals and increase the number of liaisons for community based partners, among other improvements.

Stakeholders in the system have had patience. Now it’s time for justice. We need to make improvements to ACCESS Nebraska to make it responsive and responsible to everyone. We need to pass LB 825. We’ll keep working to make this happen. If you agree, please contact your state senator this week via phone 1-800-361-2243 or email with this message:

Please support LB 825. Improvements must be made so that our government works for everyone. ACCESS Nebraska should be responsible and responsive to Nebraskans. LB 825 will increase resources for community organizations, will provide caseworkers for vulnerable clients, and will help solve problems in the system. In particular, in my case it will help by (your example here) Please advance LB 825.

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