Worker's Pay Delayed By State

A Papillion woman claims the state has put her family in a bad financial state. She's not waiting on a handout, rather money she has earned. Her complaint raises the question, are health care claims being paid in a timely manner? After all, it's our tax money.

Dessa Fernau isn't getting a gift from the $2,400 she earned caring for a disabled person. “I do it for a reason, because I care about people and I want to help them."

An automated call center verifies she filed for payment. “Claim received on December 4th.” Dessa is still waiting for payment. “They don't process it in a timely manner and I have bills to pay just like everybody else. Thirty-five cents in my bank account when I have four kids and Christmas coming up.”

Dessa files her hours worked with the League of Human Dignity, which forwards the claim to Nebraska Health and Human Services. The director of the Nebraska League of Human Dignity says the claim may have been processed earlier, but the state called the league to say staff had trouble reading the handwritten rate provided by the provider and that might have caused a delay processing the funds.

Dessa claims that's because the claim had to be resent to the state. "Because they lost it the first time it was sent.”

League of Human Dignity Director Mike Schafer says 2,500 care providers are usually paid more quickly by the state than what happened to Dessa, who said, “The stockings are empty because I can't even afford to put anything in them."

Schafer calls it an isolated delay at an unfortunate time of the year. The law gives state agencies more than a month to pay contractors. The Department of Health and Human Services says this claim was approved two days after it was received this past Monday. The payment has been expedited so it should be in Dessa’s bank account by Christmas Eve.

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