Valley woman says DES won't help herPosted: Updated:
Like a lot of folks, Alma Shumway depends on certain prescription medication. "I have a chronic illness that requires constant monitoring by a physician," Alma says. Due to some changes in her life, Alma is about to be without her medication. "I am divorced from my husband and after the divorce I am about to lose my health insurance."
To help out, Alma applied for help from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, also known as AHCCCS. It's a long name but basically the agency provides health insurance to people in need, like Alma.
"It's very urgent, it's almost a crisis for me," Alma says. She applied for state assistance back in September.
During that time, she also applied to the Department of Economic Security for help with buying groceries.
She kept track of all of her paperwork but six months later, she says the Department of Economic Security and AHCCCS claim they never received her documents and asked her to mail them back in.
"I reapplied in January and they requested additional documents. So I again submitted all the documents they requested." But Alma says she was later turned down for any assistance because she reportedly missed her phone interview with DES.
However, Alma says that is simply not true because DES never called the day they were supposed to. Alma fears time is running out, saying, "I need insurance. I need it desperately and it makes me wonder if there is somebody else going through the same difficulties."
Alma says she started the entire application process all over again only to be told her file was missing, again.
Frustrated, she contacted 3 On Your Side and I got a hold of DES which looked into the matter. As soon as they did, DES approved Alma for state-assisted insurance. They also approved her for grocery assistance, backdating her funds all the way back to September when she initially applied and qualified for help.
Alma says she can't believe it saying, "Thanks to Gary and his 3 On Your Side Team. With help from Gary Harper, this wouldn't have been possible."
DES is unable to comment about specific cases like Alma’s. However, the agency is swamped with people looking for temporary assistance. It's very probable that Alma's file was simply misplaced causing her several delays until 3 On Your Side got involved.