Department of Children and Families
David E. Wilkins
February 20, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – With shorter wait times and a quicker response, the Department of Children and Families is continuing dramatic improvements in customer service by providing an automated response on the Customer Call Center line.
Our Customer Call Centers handle millions of calls each month from clients checking on their federal benefits, such as food assistance or Medicaid. The number of people in Florida receiving these benefits has tripled in the past four years and the increase in clients has dramatically increased the number of calls. In order to provide better service and reduce the number of calls clients made to the call center, an automated response line was implemented in January.
Previously, callers could only receive information about their case by checking their account online or speaking to an employee at the Customer Call Center. Now by calling 1-866-762-2237, customers can navigate a user-friendly system that will provide detailed information regarding their benefits. The system also allows the caller to customize the information they want to hear regarding their case.
"We have made many system improvements over the past year to more effectively serve clients who receive public benefits," said Secretary David Wilkins. "Our goal is to provide the best customer service possible so Floridians who need short-term assistance can receive it promptly and efficiently."
Customers can now obtain the following information with one phone call:
- Status of an application
- List of any missing information needed to process or complete their case
- Confirmation of documents submitted to the agency
- Information on changes in benefit amounts
- Reasons for denials or terminations of benefits
The enhanced phone system is just one important change in the Department's ongoing effort to improve access for our customers and increase customer satisfaction. A new service planned for this summer will also give clients an estimated wait time and allow them to go on "virtual hold" so they can hang up and get a call back when an operator is available.
Other recent improvements include text message and email alerts for clients who have Electronic Benefit Cards regarding the status of their food assistance or cash assistance accounts. In addition, an enhanced My ACCESS Account online allows recipients to make changes to their contact information, household members, income and more. Clients can also upload information to process their case.
As more clients utilize our online systems, our Customer Call Centers have been better able to help those calling for assistance. As of today, the call center has received 1.7 million client calls, a drop from 2.8 million at this same time in January.
DCF's Economic Self-Sufficiency Program is responsible for determining eligibility for public assistance and providing ongoing case management of federal benefits. In 2011, Florida was awarded a bonus of more than $6 million from the United States Department of Agriculture for having the lowest error rate nationwide for food assistance payments. This was the third year in a row Florida led the nation in accuracy.
The Food Assistance Program helps low-income individuals and families buy the food they need for good health. The Temporary Cash Assistance Program provides short-term cash benefits to families with children as well as pregnant women in their last trimester. The Medicaid program provides health insurance to families with children under age 18 and to senior and disabled adults.
The Department currently has 3.3 million food assistance recipients and about 92,000 who receive cash assistance. Nearly 2.7 million Floridians receive Medicaid. To apply for benefits, go to www.myflorida.com/accessflorida.