Monday, March 07, 2005

Greely Tribune: State must pay to fix computer glitches, Aid agencies suffering

From the Greely Tribune Editorial Page Today:

Debbie Allmer of La Salle wasn't nearly as concerned about the computer glitch in the state's welfare management system as she was about feeding her grandchildren.

Allmer waited months to receive food stamps for herself and her two grandchildren.

Because of the state's faulty $200 million system, launched Sept. 1, people like Allmer blame counties for problems that frustrate workers as much as they hurt needy Coloradans.

Allmer and thousands more Coloradans like her are being re-victimized by the computer system, originally championed as a way to streamline applications and the processing for programs like food stamps and Medicaid.

But the system has hurt infinitely more than it has helped. Contrary to its purpose, the Colorado Benefits Management System has slowed the process of receiving state and federal aid.

Phone banks and pleas for patience have done nothing to alleviate the frustration and fear of people who need help but can't get it. For Weld County's social services workers, the complex computer glitches has been mind-numbing and emotionally wrenching. In Weld, about 22,000 people in 15,000 households receive some form of welfare assistance.

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