DHHS Bangor sucks

Bangor, ME

#1 Mar 11, 2014
The DHHS does this very rude thing to people once a year when you get their review form to keep your Food Supplement benefits. They send it out to you the same week that it is due with no grace period. For example they will send it out on Mon or Tues so you'll get it by Wed but then tell you it's due in their office by Friday. Seriously this is mean and rude so if it is late they cut off your food stamps and you need to go through this whole collecting info thing to get them back. They tell you that you need to send it in ASAP but then tell you they are too busy to talk to you and you have to wait if you leave a phone message. So why tell us to send it in right away if they are so busy? Durp! Then on top of it they hardly ever answer their phone at all. You'll get a letter from your case worker or family independence office and it will say "call my number" but it's never their actual number it's a general phone # to the DHHS. Then they NEVER ANSWER THEIR PHONE unless you are willing to stay on hold for upwards of 45 minutes. I understand they may be busy but this is inhuman to be placed on hold that long. It's almost as if they are doing it on purpose because they look down on us and they have control issues. I've been trying to call them for weeks now and they will not answer their phone. There are times I've gone in and sat down waited for hours to talk to someone only to be told I don't have certain info so I need to come back. BUT if they would answer their phone or tell me what I need in a letter in the first place I wouldn't need to wast their time and mine needlessly. Also there are times we have sat there only to watch the receptionist ignore the phone ringing when it was painfully obvious she was not busy at the time and/or didn't look all that busy to begin with. Also with so many calling all the time why don't they hire someone to answer the phone or at least get a MODERN phone system in which we can at least get filtered into voice mail. Im not saying I don't appreciate the Food Supplement benefits but their service is set up all wrong. It's like they are doing it on purpose to play games with us because they have control issues. Specially when they mail out the review form the very same week that it's due back as if I need to drop everything I'm doing and race over to the DHHS with it because the PO office does not own a time machine.

Atlanta, GA

#2 Mar 24, 2014

Suncook, NH

#3 May 26, 2015
Here in NH we have a direct number to a personal case worker/manager. It usually goes straight to voice mail but they usually get back to use within the next day, or we at least hear back from another office employee. But I do recall in Maine that you can call the DHHS and the phone will ring and ring and ring and they hardly ever answer. Then even if you get through to a case worker they can take weeks to get back to you. In Maine it's best to go in very early in the day and just wait in line. I do think Maines problem could be fixed by making things better organized and or perhaps hire some people to answer and direct calls. Or even set up some sort of automated system. For some reason in Maine they still think it's 1970 and only have 1 number to call. And like you said no one seems to answer the phone. Though I don't recall waiting on hold as you said. It's just their phone rings and rings and no one answers it. I know it's tough but the only way to get things done is to actually go in. But I know this is hard because a friend of mine has PTSD and other Anxiety issues so it makes it hard for her to sit with crowds. However if you go in early in the morning you can get in and out faster. The trick is to bring with you as much information as possible even if you don't think you need it. Documents, Doctors notes, Land lord or lease info, Copy of birth records, Proof of anything. Keep it with you in a folder. Then if they ask chances are you'll have it and won't need to come in again. However often they will make copies of what you have with you and then allow you to send the rest to them in the mail. I also noticed that in Maine they seem to force everyone to computers to do everything yourself. But here in NH we are still able to actually sit with a real person to start forms. So I do understand it's tough in states like Maine. They seem to be lacking order, structure, and alternatives to computer illiterate or handicap persons. The only thing Maine seems to do better is that there is only 1 insurance (Mainecare) where here in NH we still need to apply for Medicaid + a 2nd Insurance Company and the systems here seem to be a little sloppy. Not enough communication between hospitals, insurance companies, and the DHHS. But I still think the DHHS here is better because like I said clients all get a direct number to their personal case worker/manager and they are pretty quick to get back to you.

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