The LITAP Program underwent a program audit in April by the State and it was discovered that internal controls were insufficient to administer the program effectively. After a formal BIDS selection process, Corybant was selected by CDHS as the preferred vendor for the Low-Income Telephone Assistance Program (LITAP). The project goal was to bring the program into compliance with legislative requirements and to reduce the administrative costs. Subsequently, Corybant was engaged to provide enhancements that included developing a secure API for participating carriers.
Division: Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
Project Reference: Low Income Telephone Assistance Program (LITAP) Call Center and Secure API Interface Portal for Participating Telephone Carriers
The CDHS is responsible for administering and verifying the eligibility of individuals for the LITAP. LITAP is a $16.50 monthly telephone credit that is funded by Federal and State initiatives. To be eligible for LITAP applicants must currently be receiving benefits from one of seven State programs through two agencies CBMS (Colorado Benefits Management System) or LEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program). There are almost 100 telephone carriers who participate. Over 300,000 people are eligible (CBMS or LEAP) for assistance and approximately 40,000 participate in LITAP (up from 25,000 in 2009).
Project activities included reviewing and documenting the policies for verifying eligibility in the program, identifying and creating reports for CDHS and carriers, evaluating current state of the manual system, creating the plan for incremental automation of the process, working with CDHS to determine requirements for consolidating the information in disparate databases into one centralized database server, and creating procedures and reporting structures for generating on-demand consolidated reports.
Deliverables include a secure administrative portal and information management system for verifying eligibility of individuals for the LITAP program and processing their request for LITAP benefits. Corybant developed and deployed the automated system within 45 days of contract award. Corybant also prepared and delivered a presentation of the new LITAP system on January 21, 2010 to CDHS, Colorado State Auditors, Public Utilities Commission (PUC), OIT, Qwest and other stakeholders. This presentation along with other supporting documentation prepared by Corybant satisfied the Colorado Office of the State Auditor regarding sufficient internal controls for effectively managing the LITAP program.
The automated call-center eligibility program for LITAP includes a fully integrated IVR system, data exchange agreements for LEAP MIS, a secure FTP site for information exchange, secure databases, monthly reporting, and a secure portal for LEAP Administrators to process faxed or mailed applications, query reports, and update the status of an applicant. The system was extended to include an API interface for participating telephone carriers in order to improve efficiency and reduce cost.
The LITAP System was launched 51 calendar days after the contract was awarded. The figure below is a timeline of events that occurred from during the first nine months of the project.
The LITAP system is available 24x7 and includes options for English and Spanish. It has the capacity for 200 simultaneous telephone calls (based on an average of 10 minutes per call the capacity is 1,200 calls per hour). At this time, CDHS has decided not to provide operator assistance; however that capability can be available within 24 hours if desired. The LITAP IVR provides immediate responses to callers including verifying the caller's eligibility in the LITAP program, processing new applications for LITAP, updating applications for LITAP. The system is also capable of notifying LITAP applicants if their application was rejected (and providing the reason for the rejection so caller can rectify the situation), and providing immediate responses callers about the status of their application and/or their eligibility, however, CDHS has chosen not to offer those features to callers at this time.
The secure database logs information about the caller, duration of the call, nature of the call, result of the application process, as well as maintaining a list of eligible LEAP and CBMS beneficiaries that typically includes over 400,000 records by the end of October. The LITAP System provides a secure electronic data transfer used at beginning of each month to transfer two datasets for CBMS and LEAP in fixed format ASCII text files. The CBMS data set is the list of current CBMS beneficiaries (around 115,000 names) and the LEAP data set is the current list of LEAP beneficiaries (around 380,000 names). Files are encrypted and processed immediately by the system.
Individuals can apply for LITAP benefits by calling the toll-free information line, or by completing a LITAP application available at the LEAP website and submitting (mail, fax or scan) that application to CDHS. When an individual calls the LITAP Information Line the automated system checks a current list of eligible CBMS and LEAP beneficiaries and verifies if the caller is eligible for LITAP. If they are eligible for LITAP, the system processes the caller's application and Registers them for LITAP benefits as of that date.
Authorized CDHS Administrators access the system through a secure Administrative portal. When CDHS receives a mailed, faxed or scanned application, CDHS staff manually enters the data into the automated system. The Administrative portal includes several reports and statistical information about callers, applicants, and beneficiaries by carrier and eligible program.
An Application Programmer Interface (API) was added in 2011 when Corybant was engaged to extend the system to include an API for participating wireless telephone carriers. Once approved by PUC and CDHS, participating carriers are able to register eligible LITAP beneficiaries via the secure API and the results of eligibility are available immediately to those carriers.