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IBM Watson Health Helps New York City Improve the Process of Applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

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The average caseworker juggles somewhere between 20 and 30 cases at a time.  That’s compared to the 10 to 17 recommended by the Child Welfare League of America.  And because they’re juggling those cases, caseworkers are able to spend about 18% of their time face to face with clients.  They spend almost twice as much time – about 33% – doing paper work and documentation.

Like most human services programs, the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) was challenged by growing caseloads.  They needed to find a way to improve service delivery while addressing increased caseloads.  They decided to transform their intake application, ACCESS HRA, so that multiple in-person visits to one of its offices would no longer be required.  Instead, citizens could apply for and manage their benefits and services using multiple channels.  The ACCESS HRA website was already based on IBM Cúram software and had been recognized multiple times for its innovative approach to social program delivery.  So HRA turned again to IBM Watson Health and Cúram.

The new project leveraged a newer release of IBM Cúram that was modular and would allow HRA to further extend the features that citizens could access through the ACCESS HRA portal.  Using the IBM Cúram Universal Access module, NYC HRA focused on making it possible for citizens to submit benefit applications and recertifications through the portal.  A key focus of the project was putting citizens’ needs first, particularly for the 40,000 people applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) every month. The end result has been improved customer service despite an increase in applications for benefits.  To learn more about how Watson Health helped NYC HRA improved the process of applying for SNAP, read the full HRA case study.


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