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Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Date: August 30, 2016
DHSS Receives $667,618 Federal Grant to Improve Customer Service Using Triage Specialists in 18 SNAP Offices Statewide NEW CASTLE (Aug. 30, 2016) - Delaware is one of seven states to receive a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for forward-looking projects that improve the quality and efficiency of serving clients in the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, which received a three-year grant of $667,618, will use the funding to design, develop and implement a triage solution at its local SNAP offices. Beginning in December, a triage specialist will be stationed in the lobby of five of the 18 local offices, with all offices being phased in over the three-year period.
The triage specialist will welcome clients as they enter the SNAP office and perform "triage" on the purpose for their visit. Triage specialists will be equipped with a tablet that has a camera and wireless access, which will allow them to view case status information. Using a tablet, each specialist also will be able to take photos of the client's supporting documentation and email the photos to appropriate email inboxes. Through available online applications, each specialist also will be able to prescreen for potential eligibility, but will not be able to determine benefit amounts.
"Eventually having a triage specialist in each of our 18 SNAP offices will help us address a wide variety of client questions and needs," DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "We thank the USDA and the Congressional delegation for supporting our application and for funding our innovative approach to improving SNAP customer service statewide."
SNAP is federally funded, but it is administered by the states. About 147,000 Delawareans receive monthly food benefits through SNAP. "Our children, no matter where they live, must have access to healthy food so that they can grow up to be healthy adults," U.S. Sen. Tom Carper said. "Programs like SNAP are critical because they give millions of Americans the ability to put wholesome food on their tables year-round. This grant will help to ensure that Delaware families continue to receive these vital benefits efficiently and have access to nutritious meals throughout the year."
"SNAP is an important safety net program in the truest sense of the word; food is a critical human need," U.S. Sen. Chris Coons said. "I am thrilled to learn about this grant that will strengthen the SNAP program, which supports the most vulnerable of our community, including more than 147,000 Delawareans."
"SNAP is central to our efforts to provide food to Delawareans struggling with hunger and food insecurity," Congressman John Carney said. "This grant will allow Delaware to make much needed improvements to the application process, so we're able to help those in need while making the program run more efficiently. I want to thank DHSS and USDA for bringing this grant to our state."
Other awardees and grant amounts are:
For more information about these projects, please visit www.fns.usda.gov/snap/snap-process-and-technology-improvement-grants.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.