Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Family Assistance (DFA) is announcing changes in how individuals or families apply for assistance. DFA is moving to a process that will involve clients receiving appointments, instead of the current process that involves clients walking in to apply, then waiting, sometimes hours to be seen.
This new initiative will streamline the process for anyone applying for assistance through DFA. DFA determines eligibility for New Hampshire residents for programs and services such as Food Stamps, Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), and Medicaid. Under this new process, clients will still complete an application at a District Office, then, based on potential eligibility they will be given an appointment within two business days to return for their interview. A list of verifications and possible forms needed to complete their application will be provided at the same time they receive the date and time of their appointment. Anyone who is determined eligible for expedited services will be seen the day they apply.
"These challenging economic times have brought 20% increases in the numbers of people applying for assistance,” said DFA Director Terry Smith. “Applicants are frustrated at having to spend several hours waiting to be seen. This new appointment system will reduce wait time for eligibility interviews to 15 minutes or less, allowing DFA staff more quality time to process cases and better serve the residents of our State."
The new system was implemented in the Manchester District Office this fall, and will be implemented in DHHS’s remaining offices over the next three months. “Our staff in Manchester have already seen a tremendous improvement in customer service as a result of this change,” said Manchester DFA District Office Supervisor Kathy Finnegan. “Clients are happy to walk away with a set appointment time, and are able to come to the interview more prepared.”
District Offices in Rochester, Keene and Laconia will switch to the appointment system beginning December 15; Nashua, Concord and Claremont on January 5, 2009; and Berlin and Salem will transition to the new system February 17, 2009.