Call wait times decline for Nebraska public benefits system

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska residents who rely on public benefits are spending less time on the phone waiting for someone to help them.

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Thursday that average call-wait times for ACCESS Nebraska fell to less than five minutes in September, compared to more than 14 minutes in August. The September average is the shortest wait time for the long-troubled service in three years.

Ricketts says the system is also processing applications more accurately because of changes made by department administrators and Nebraska’s new chief operating officer, Felix Davidson.

Davidson says state workers are collecting application documents earlier, reducing the time call center employees spend trying to locate them.

James Goddard of Nebraska Appleseed, an advocate for low-income residents, praised the improvements but cautions that they need to be sustainable.

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