12 On Your Side: DHS customers wait hours on phone; get disconnected

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Dec. 9, 2013

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW) -- "It's messed up. It's very messed up for real," says Wendy Dixon.

Frustration would be an understatement for Dixon after she says she was dropped from the DHS food stamp program.

"I was cut off because I missed my review," says Dixon.

In order to get back on the program she says she has to either apply online through Georgia Compass or by phone. With limited access to a computer, Dixon is using her mobile.

"They keep telling you to call the one eight seven seven number but when I call them it keep hanging up on me, hanging up on me. Call back at a later time," says Dixon.

She and a dozen other News 12 viewers contacted us about what they say are extremely long hold times only to be disconnected. "Wait time about four, five hours. I stayed on their for two hours three hours," says Dixon.

We reached out to the communications department at DHS both by phone and email. Our email dated December 3rd was only replied to on Monday afternoon. DHS says it is working hard to address complications with its phone system and is working to resolve them as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, going online may be the quickest option.

DHS provided a full statement on the issue below:

Family and Children Services recently re-engineered its business model for providing benefits to Food Stamp, Medicaid, TANF and Child care customers to meet increased demand for services and create consistent service statewide.

This process is called Georgia One.

Instead of requiring customers to travel to the county office and complete benefit interviews or renewals in person, this new business model relies heavily on technology and telephone services which includes conducting interviews over the phone.

Phone agents, housed in various locations all over the state of Georgia, accept phone calls from customers to complete an application or an annual renewal interview.

The Department is working diligently with its internal and external partners to address complications with technology and resolve them as quickly as possible.

We believe once our system issues are resolved, customer wait times will be reduced and service improved for the entire state of Georgia.

Currently, the Georgia One communication line experiences its highest call volumes on Mondays and Tuesdays. Clients may receive better service if they call outside those periods of high call volume.

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