Tuesday, May 02, 2006


One of the aspects of the call centers that local staff has known all along is the effect it is going to have on fraud. 
By and large- there always has been and always will be those clients who are dishonest in their quest to get benefits.  This is true of any 'non-profit'.  The unique thing about having local office staff interview...face to face.....is no one knows the community and it's people better than the people who actually live there.
I cannot tell you how many times it has been LOCAL office staff that has caught fraud in a case simply because they have 1) interviewed the client before, 2) CAN SEE THE AP IN THE LOBBY, 3) CAN SEE THE CAR IN THE PARKING LOT, 4) can drive by the house the client claims to live in, 5) has viewed the client at work when the client states they are NOT working, etc etc.  This is not the case with call centers.  You can have a client in say El Paso interview with a TAA employee in Midland- say that client in El Paso was a 'known liar' in the local office- BUT NOW THAT SOMEONE ACROSS THE STATE IS INTERVIEWING HIM/HER THEY LEARN QUICKLY HOW TO DO WHATEVER THEY NEED TO DO TO GET WHATEVER BENEFITS IT IS THEY ARE SEEKING. 
Let's talk about LSIS (finger imaging, for those that don't know)......before LSIS, big urban areas had multiple cases of fraud on clients who would have several alias's.  Once the finger imaging started, that stopped instantly.  Because the ONLY way to get certified was to give an electronic fingerprint- and you might have 10 names, but you WON'T have 10 different finger images.  Ok, that was great!  Now, however- with the push to have EVERYONE done by phone, those images are no longer required (although TAA staff still send applicants in to have it done before they have even had an interview, and somehow no one can figure out how to make TIERS not pend for that) and so you can have Joe Blow do an interview, get certified.  Reapply the next month with another name, maybe another person's birth certificate for ID and get certified AGAIN.  It isn't going to take long for the client population to figure this out.  This will amount to thousands of dollars issued incorrectly.
You can do all the strip files, you can do all the 'case clues'- but NOTHING will take the place of a worker, in person, dealing with someone.  Nothing.  Nothing will take the place of local staff being able to read clues in how a client reacts to a question, how they will or WON'T look at you when they answer that question, etc. 
Everyone keeps expecting integrity in the program, but it seems that little by little everything that actually KEPT integrity in the program is disappearing.

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