Each year, the Division of Public Assistance provides direct services and benefits to more than 200,000 Alaskans. Offices can receive up to 10,000 initial applications and renewals each month. IN addition, each month Field Offices across the state also receive innumerable reports of change, returned mail, and correspondence from clients and partner agencies correspondence. Under any circumstance this is a monumental body of work.
Historically, we have done an outstanding job managing this staggering volume of work. We also faced periods where we have been confronted large backlogs of work. One challenge many of you may remember was the heavy lifting required years ago to process thousands of DKC applications out of timeframes successfully. We encountered and conquered another enormous challenge when problems with the Heating Assistance System stalled work. Again, just a few short years ago, we were inundated with a surge of applications during the “Great Recession.” We overcame all of these trials despite the difficulties and the Division was acknowledged by both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Systems and the Food and Nutrition Services for outstanding performance. Although there are a host of reasons contributing to our current situation, I am confident that DPA will rise to the challenge and resume our position as one of the best, if not the best, Public Assistance agency in the nation.
Our Research and Analysis team has been working to compile and tabulate information about the backlog of work that can help illustrate both the extent of the challenge and our progress in addressing the backlog. This has not been an easy task. Management information reports were, quite frankly, something of an afterthought when EIS was created. At this point ARIES management reports are still in a development stage. Consequently, a great deal of effort is needed to combine data from both systems into documents that can capture the outstanding body of work. What follows are several representations of the backlog of work.