Posts Tagged ‘tragic scenario’
Thank you Palm Beach Post for such a timely article.
Although this particular case is from Florida, this same tragic scenario is being rewritten daily through our great Nation under Bailout . The digital divide is growing daily- hourly- with each click of our collective mice.
Although the 50 plus age community is highly represented ( or NEVER counted as they are invisible)
in this struggling group, the newly poor – the foreclosed, homeless and jobless are in the same hopeless situation.
When I created APPSNEWBIE, I strongly felt that this ” technological underclass” was a sad byproduct we would see and I HOPED ( silly Pollyanna me ) that as a moral a society, we l find it of value to provide education- access and services to the desperately in need .Silly Appsnewbie.
You cannot even apply for a job without a computer.
But you lost your house -foreclosure AND you pawned your laptop so you could eat.Or buy your diabetes medication
You are living in a car and the libraries and workforce shops have limited computer usage times-;
Those public computers also have firewalls so all job sites are not usable-and you cannot type that fast
Plus the public computers they have are slow- hey -
the billionaire computer vendor who had that government t contract that sold the computers palmed off his second rate stuff- no sweat -
After all- his/her pal was sure he got the bid…
WHEN DO BILLIONAIRE APPLE and MICROSOFT START TO REALLY PROVIDE PUBLIC COMPUTERS and TRAINING-
THAT MAKE PEOPLE EMPLOYABLE? NOT JUST DATA ENTRY ?
WHERE and WHEN?
APPSNEWBIE IS JUST ASKING ..
Seniors Without Computers Struggle to Apply for Food Stamps, Medicaid benefits
Philip Proulx knew just enough about computers to check guests in at an apartment building in Palm Beach, where he worked as a doorman for several years.
Proulx, 77, was laid off recently and realized his $735 monthly Social Security check would not cover his expenses. His only hope was applying for food stamps and cash assistance.
Proulx said he tried calling the state Department of Children and Families’ toll-free number to apply over the phone, but a recorded message kept telling him to call back because of high call volumes.
He asked for help at several community organizations but was told he could apply for government aid only through the Internet. Proulx said he had no idea how to even get to the DCF website, much less find the application and submit it online.
Proulx’s quandary is not isolated, according to officials at local community agencies. Elderly and disabled residents or those without computer skills or access to an Internet connection, often struggle to get help to obtain food stamps and Medicaid assistance, the officials say.
“If they have no computer skills, they cannot apply on their own,” said Lela Jordan, director of Vickers House in West Palm Beach. “Many people who need food stamps and Medicaid face barriers to even apply because of their lack of computer skills.”
“If you are computer-ignorant, that’s too bad,” Proulx said. “You’ve got to find out how to do it on your own.”
He eventually found help at Vickers House and applied for food stamps and cash assistance online. But before he did, he said, “I’ve never been so confused in my life.”
DCF says about 90 percent of food stamp recipients apply online – an indicator that most have access to computers. But DCF spokesman Joe Follick said, “we do understand the frustration” of those who struggle with the online application process or busy phone lines.
DCF does not keep track of the number of complaints about the online application process since calls come in from regional and circuit offices, call centers and even the governor’s office.
But Follick said the department is aware of the problems and determined to fix them: “It’s our number one priority.”
DCF’s manpower has remained largely the same over the past five years, even though requests for food stamps have more than tripled, Follick said.
Even DCF Secretary David Wilkins, in a memo to employees of the department’s online system, called Access, said improvements must be made to ease the application process and make more operators available for callers.
“Employees, the millions of clients they help and all Floridians deserve a system that is efficient and minimizes the delay and frustration that are already heightened when families face difficult situations,” Wilkins wrote.
This year, DCF hired a new economic self-sufficiency director and has hired 60 employees for its call centers, Wilkins said.
Simple requests, such as how to reset passwords for online access, are being diverted to a group of operators to reduce wait times on the toll-free number, and the process will eventually be automated, Wilkins said. The department also plans to make its website easier to navigate.
Meanwhile, problems remain.
At Christians Reaching Out to Society Ministries, or C.R.O.S. Ministries, in Lake Worth, Director Pam Cahoon said many of her clients find it impossible to reach DCF to apply for benefits.
She said those without computers can sometimes use public library machines, but most libraries enforce time limits on computers.
“Unless you are really fast with the computer, you can’t get through,” Cahoon said. “It’s just absolutely horrible.”
At C.R.O.S., the demand for help filling out food stamp applications online is so high that the organization and DCF are splitting the cost of two workers dedicated to helping people apply and interview for government aid, Cahoon said.
“It’s just virtually impossible to get through on the phone,” she said.