DENVER (January 26, 2017) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) announced today that the Denver District Court has terminated a long-running settlement agreement after CDHS significantly improved its performance in delivering food and cash assistance benefits.
“People who are overcoming poverty and come to us for food or cash assistance need their benefits right away,” said Reggie Bicha, executive director of CDHS. “They need government services to be efficient, timely and accurate. The old system was broken, and people waited too long to get the assistance they needed. We’ve worked tirelessly with the help of our county partners to create a system that works effectively for Coloradans. Today, the majority of applications can be submitted online, and applicants receive a response within 48 hours.”
In 2004, plaintiffs filed the Davis v. Birch and Bicha (formerly Hawthorne-Bey v. Henneberry and Beye) lawsuit alleging that the length of time it took the department to process applications for food and cash assistance did not comply with law. The parties settled the lawsuit in 2008. The terms of the agreement required the department to process new and expedited applications in a timely manner 95 percent of the time for at least 12 consecutive months. The settlement also required the state to process redeterminations -- which establish whether individuals currently receiving assistance are still eligible to receive benefits -- in a timely manner 95 percent of the time for at least nine consecutive months. The department has exceeded all of these requirements.
Currently, the department processes new food assistance applications in a timely manner 98.76 percent of the time, up from 70.36 percent in October 2007, the date when CDHS started tracking data for the settlement. The department processes expedited applications in a timely manner 98.23 percent of the time, up from 46.17 percent in October 2007, and redetermination applications in a timely manner 96.79 percent of the time, improved from 43.32 percent in October 2007.
For Colorado Works cash assistance, the department is processing applications in a timely manner 99.79 percent of the time, up from 82.7 percent in October 2007. Colorado Works redeterminations are being processed in a timely manner 96.92 percent of the time, improved from 59.6 percent in October 2007.
Applying for food and cash assistance programs can be done online, over the phone, by mail or in person at numerous assistance sites statewide. For more information, visit https://coloradopeak.secure.force.com/.