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Last updated: Thu. Nov. 07, 2013 - 08:00 am EDT

Part of Indiana welfare website down for 2 weeks

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INDIANAPOLIS — Part of Indiana's welfare website has been offline for two weeks, preventing clients from accessing the status of their cases for food stamps and other benefits.

Some functions were taken offline after they were found not to be displaying information correctly, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration spokesman Jim Gavin told The Indianapolis Star for a story Wednesday.

A state contractor, RCR Technology Corp., is working on the problem, but it wasn't clear when it would be resolved, Gavin said.

In the meantime, welfare clients can call 1-800-403-0864 or visit Division of Family Resources offices to check the status of their cases or receive proof of eligibility, Gavin said.

The website problem could create setbacks for some people seeking benefits, John Cardwell, said an advocate for welfare clients and director of The Generations Project, a consumer organization focused on health care.

"People on food stamps have enough to deal with. They don't need to deal with a website company's inability to do its job," Cardwell said. "You can imagine a single mom trying to take care of kids may have a work situation where she's eligible for food stamps, but her only chance to check her status may be in the evening."

Gavin said other functions of the website are still working.

An RCR receptionist said she was directed to say the company has no comment.

The website problem comes four months after a security breach by RCR revealed 16 clients' Social Security numbers to other clients and the sharing of other personal information for 48 other clients. A computer programming error by RCR led to the security breach, FSSA said at the time.

The state is in the process of recovering $369,000 in expenses from RCR for the security breach, Gavin said. RCR also is providing free credit monitoring for affected clients.

Indianapolis-based RCR administers the state's online benefits portal and provides document management services under a four-year, $53 million contract with the state that expires at the end of 2016.


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