Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 | 8:35 p.m.
Another state computer system is having technical difficulties, affecting low-income Nevadans.
The state Division of Welfare and Supportive Services said today that those applying for welfare payments, food stamps and Medicaid will not be able to file their claims on the electronic system from Sept. 21 to Sept. 30.
An estimated 250 Nevadans a day use the computer system to submit their claims. But they will have to file using paper applications during this interim.
The system is being modified to handle what is expected to be an influx of applications for Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. The laws expand the eligibility for Medicaid and estimates made during the Legislature projected the numbers will increase from 340,000 to 450,000 individuals.
Mary Woods, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said about half of the 250 daily applicants receive help from family resource centers.
The paper application forms will be available at these centers or at the welfare offices.
The official names of the programs that will not be available through the Internet are the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program and Medicaid.
Mike McMahon, director of the welfare division, said the shutdown “will be an inconvenience for those who are accustomed to using the online process to apply for benefits” but it will end up an improved system.
He said Medicaid will now be eligible for adults ages 19 to 64 with low incomes and no dependent children in the home. “Previously this group of Nevadans was eligible for Medicaid if they met additional eligibility requirements,” he said.
The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange said a federal grant of $24.9 million was transferred to the division for the “eligibility engine.” The modified program will also help the health exchange determine if individuals are qualified for advance tax credits.
The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation started installing its new near $40 million computer system and it has experienced a myriad of problems.
The Internet system was down to file claims, and the jobless could not get through on telephone lines. The department installed additional lines but unemployed individuals complained they had to wait hours on the line and then there would be an automatic hangup.