MONEY AND WORK

News from the Progressive Review, providing alternative news and comment for over four decades.

April 29, 2009

SEVERAL STATES OUTSOURCE FOOD STAMP CALLS TO INDIA

ABC - Several states with high unemployment rates are outsourcing their food stamp services to call centers in India, angering many residents. Michele Brown learned about Florida's outsourcing when she called regarding a problem with her benefits. But nothing prepared her for what happened one day when she called a toll-free line to inquire about her food stamps.

"The woman who answered the phone -- it's not like she wasn't nice or anything -- but it was kind of evident that she wasn't in the States," Brown said.

It turns out the woman was at a JP Morgan Chase call center in India.

"That really put me over the edge," said Brown, 52, of Jupiter, Fla. "It's not right because we need the work here. People are in a bad way here.". . .

Unemployment in Florida is now 9.7 percent.

"Why is the state of Florida sending these jobs away?" Brown asked. "The thing that really iced it for me, I knew that JP Morgan had gotten bailout funds."

So she called her local politicians and then she reached out to her local newspaper, the Palm Beach Post. The paper did a story two weeks ago about the $50 million Florida paid JP Morgan in the last three years to administer the food stamps distribution. . .

The state now has a commitment from JP Morgan to move all of its calls to the United States, according to Judi Spann, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families.

Florida isn't alone in sending its customer service calls overseas.

ABC News canvassed the country, asking states about their call centers. Often state officials overseeing the programs had no idea, despite past controversies, where their calls were going. . . .

JP Morgan provides food stamp debit cards in 26 states and the District of Columbia. It also provides child support debit cards in 15 states and unemployment insurance cards in seven states.

The 130,000 food stamp families in West Virginia have their calls routed to India, according to Jerry Luck, program director for the state. . .

The 488,000 households in Tennessee also have their calls sent to JP Morgan call centers in India. The state's contract runs through February 2012 and there are currently no plans to change it, according to Michelle Mowery Johnson, director of communications for state's Department of Human Services.

Unemployment in West Virginia is now 6.9 percent and 9.6 percent in Tennessee.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home