ELIZABETHTOWN — The state’s N.C. FAST system is expanding again to add Work First and Medicaid to its system.
Bladen County Social Services Director Vickie Smith said in a recent interview that, over the coming months, all new applicants for Work First and long-term care will start being added to the N.C. FAST system. The acronym stands for North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website.
“On Sept. 8, all income maintenance will start being put in N.C. FAST. As clients come up for renewal, they will be put in,” said Smith.
Smith said as the programs transition to the N.C. FAST system, the state will do what is called a “dump” which means the state will be inputting all of the information for applicants of the programs that are coming online into the new system.
She added that her staff are currently in training on the N.C. FAST system and learning about the new application process.
Smith said the state learned lessons from the food stamp program which developed a back log and also experienced delayed and lost applications. She said that as result of the past lessons learned she expected the process for the Work First and long-term care groups to be smoother.
“Right now, we are currently doing very well with N.C. FAST. In work that is back logged in family and child and Medicaid, we are well above the state average with what we have done,”said Smith.
Smith said the goal of the N.C. FAST system is to put all of a client’s information before a case worker where they can easily evaluate it and determine which programs and benefits a client might be eligible to receive.
“For example, if a cleint comes is in for welfare, a case worker can see what else they are eilgible for,” said Smith.
In the past, clients have had to apply to each program individually and deal with a case worker assigned to each program, according to Smith. Now, with N.C. FAST, the client will only have to deal with one case worker and submit their supporting documents only once.