Last night, I got a call from Cristine, a Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) programmer, Rocio told me would follow up on my case. She was super nice and helpful. She informed me that my completed SAR, mailed on August 26, 2015, was received on August 27, 2015 by the DPSS unit I had mailed it to, but because it was still incomplete, their policy is not to follow-up anymore. WTF?
Additionally, Mr. Robinson, had pointed out the re-applying was the single mistake that could have prevented the debacle. Even if my SAR had been late, they could have reopened my case, but as that was not the reason, I felt that I should be entitled to my September benefits I missed due to misinformation.
No such luck. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right? Here is the correspondence I will be mailing to the lackluster Hilda Solis.
My CalFresh experience and lack of response to my correspondence is enough to warrant my disgust of government and public social services, however, as much as I can be nasty, I also have enough decency to acknowledge good customer service.
Ms. Raven Thrift
By the time I called your office yesterday, I was at wit’s end. I managed to calm myself down enough and present a valid case for my anger. Raven LISTENED and not enough can be said for her patience, compassion and kindness. She transferred my call to…
Rocio Banuelos, DPSS Secretary
Feeling like some action was finally being taken on my behalf, I had calmed down enough to learn from Rocio that there was something amiss. Her pleasant, calm, caring attitude assured me that I had finally reached the appropriate party to assist me with my CalFresh debacle. She advised that she was forwarding my case and I could follow up in 48 hours if I had heard nothing.
Derrick Robinson, Special Assitant Board Liaison
Surprised me with a follow-up call in the afternoon, which really put me at ease. The fact that he went out his way to contact me says volumes about his work ethic, which should be taught to ALL DPSS staff.
Cristine Tatum, Programmer Assistant
God bless her! She called at the end of the day, despite being ill, and committed herself to rectifying my problem before she was to leave the office for the day, empathizing with my dilemma.
I think if you are not already appreciative of your excellent staff, you should be! I think each and everyone deserves a raise for their above-and-beyond attitude and service they provide. Furthermore, I think they are doing a better job than all the directors and supervisors you have leaching off the public.
Of course, I have some suggestions to improve your system:
- If it really takes 30-45 days to process an online application, that information should be stated online when the application is being filled out, allowing the applicant the choice of going into the office for expedited service.
- DPSS CSRs should have the ability to view applications online versus waiting for a case number to be assigned to an already processed application.
- I was pleased to see that I could apply online versus going down to the dreadful DPSS office, where I have to pass security and wait among way too many people for assistance.
- Instead of ignoring a second incomplete SAR, another notice should be sent to the applicant. This is logical to those of us providing “legendary customer service.”
- According to Derrick Robinson, my case could have been resolved, despite a supposed late mailing of the completed SAR (as it turns out it was received in time, just not acknowledged due to being incomplete. The big error was the DPSS CSR suggesting I reapply, which indicates to me untrained staff.
- The following image is what has cause most of my angst.
Having received my new EBT Card and PIN, the following image:
- is still not accurate
- provides not information to the applicant
- does not assist the applicant when calling in to check the status of their application
- does not include a case number for the DPSS CSR to follow up on when an applicant calls to check status
I would like your ENTIRE staff to imagine one day of my life (at the bottom) and be more empathetic to people who have to rely on social services just to live a – I can’t even call it decent – a halfway decent life. Go the extra step! Step out of yourself and be creative in thinking of alternative ways to help those in need. Think outside the box!
Enough said…I got my EBT Card and PIN today and I am going to go buy some food!
Lastly, I know that my current situation is a result of life choices I made. All previous correspondence that may have been offensive to any recipient was me acting out on my frustration. I do not blame you (meaning all of you) for my problems and as you can see, I am offering suggestions for improvement.
Ultimately, I am shocked that one phone call resolved a month-and-a-half-long debacle over my application in one day!