Snafus affecting 10,000 checksgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Snafus affecting 10,000 checks Processing log jam of child-support payments is worsened by troubled hotline and long waits.
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By Kyle Niederpruem The Indianapolis Star
INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 3, 1999) -- Cheryl Jordan hasn't received her child support for two weeks.
Now, her bills are backing up, and she's bounced a few checks.
She isn't the only Marion County parent in limbo these few weeks before Christmas.
As many as 10,000 child support checks are backlogged as Marion County converts to a statewide computer tracking system mandated by Congress.
Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman is now encouraging parents to go to a Downtown walk-in center at 129 E. Market St. to get help.
A meeting also is set today with state officials to resolve more problems than just delayed checks.
"This system is too slow. We can't live this way," Newman said.
James M. Hmurovich, director of the Family and Social Services Administration, said all the delays were not because of the conversion.
"It's not the system itself," he said. Hmurovich said the county was already a week behind in postings when the project began Nov. 15. And some data required by federal law wasn't kept in the Marion County system.
"The delayed checks will be much reduced by Saturday. So any check that comes in Saturday will be entered by Saturday afternoon. That's our goal," he said.
Jordan, who had uninterrupted service with her support checks for 10 years, has been delayed twice in six months. It happened earlier this summer as the Marion County clerk's office upgraded its system and this month because of the conversion to the state system.
She hasn't been able to get past a busy signal on a specially designated hotline set up for assistance. She received no advance notice of the system conversion, except through news reports, and was told by the prosecutor's office to simply keep dialing.
"It does set things back because of Christmas," said Jordan, who has four children, two of whom are receiving support.
In Marion County, there are 2,043 posted but undistributed payments totaling $270,000. The delays for those checks are now going into weeks.
But a larger number of checks, as many as 8,000, are in a several-day holding pattern because of a backlog in processing mail. Local officials won't know the total value of those checks until the mail is opened and those checks are posted.
The number of distress calls to the hotline are being automatically disconnected once callers are placed on hold.
"That system has proved to be completely inadequate," Newman said. "People got through, were put on hold, exceeded the maximum hold time, and were cut off."
A few temporary fixes are in the works. Two "greeters" will work to process long lines at the county clerk's office while people are waiting. And the state will add six more operators to handle the telephone hotline.
"We're all problem solving together," Hmurovich said.
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), December 03, 1999
And all these .govs slamming balls to the wall will not get done by 1/1/2000. The Safety Net has been shredded.
-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (email@example.com), December 03, 1999.
First we have a couple of temporary fixes like more people to answer the phone and couple of thugs as greeters. The next fix is manual.
-- y2k dave (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 1999.
Please allow me to 'share' and give some food for thought. I once worked for a 'BIG' insurance company, lots of fraud going on, I worked in the 'claims' dept as an adjuster. As it became clear the company I was working for did not have the money to pay all claims, the calls started flooding in for those who needed their money to fix their vehicles. Believe me, those people were very angry.!!! to put it mildly. We received over 200 calls per day "wheres my check?" we paid the phone company money to 'fix' our lines so people could not get thru our automated voice system to an operator!!!! She was tired of dealing with 'them'. Because they couldnt get thru, they were placed on hold for extended periods of time, then, providing they stayed on hold, they would go into our voice mail. Most simply hung up. Soon, they began to 'come' and trust me, one came with a gun, another came with fists and beat on the bullett proof glass until police were summoned. It was a nightmare, and I ended up quitting for fear of my life. This is truth. Chances are the same thing is happening with the phones there. The powers that be cant release the money, so they chose to 'not deal' with the people. Just imagine thousand of angry women storming the support place!!!! I for one wouldnt want to be there. I'm not saying what happened is right, just personal experience from an 'insider'. I never believed things like that happened, but they do.
-- consumer (email@example.com), December 04, 1999.