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Schaer Raises Concerns over Lengthy & Costly Delay in Upgrading Computer Systems to Administer Critical Safety Net Programs

During a Monday hearing on the proposed budget for the state Department of Human Services, Assembly Budget Committee Chair Gary S. Schaer raised concerns over the prolonged delay in upgrading computer systems to help improve the delivery of critical programs that provide assistance to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

The computer system – known as CASS (Consolidated Assistance Support System) – was intended to streamline services and make enrolling in and managing programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare, and Work First New Jersey more efficient.

“After eight years and almost $60 million spent, the state and counties continue to use antiquated computer systems from the 1980’s. As a result, New Jersey is next to last in the nation when it comes to processing applications for food assistance. This is beyond alarming.

“This computer system was intended to streamline services to make sure critical safety net services reach the people who need them most. Instead families are going hungry, children are not receiving the health coverage they need and a myriad of other services are not reaching the people who need them most.

“One thing has become abundantly clear – the state has no long-term plan to efficiently deliver services to our most vulnerable population by reducing the substantial backlogs that have overwhelmed our counties,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic).