Union Criticizes Staffing at Nebraska Benefits Hotline

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Union officials say a shortage of workers contributes to the problems at a state hotline for people applying for benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.  The ACCESSNebraska hotline was established in 2010 by the Department of Health and Human Services for people applying for benefits, including food stamps and Medicaid. It has been criticized for long wait times and poor service.  The leader of Nebraska's public employees union, Mike Marvin, says there aren't enough workers to handle all the calls.  In October, the state set up a new hotline to handle Medicaid eligibility questions. HHS spokesman Russ Reno says the changes this fall have helped.  But an audit of the program released last week says the hotline is still providing poor service.