Social support CAF: 18-months of delays in processing files

"I submitted a housing benefits application at the end January, but I still have not heard back": Emma, a 27 year-old journalist, has been waiting since she moved.

Social support CAF: 18-months of delays in processing files

"I submitted a housing benefits application at the end January, but I still have not heard back": Emma, a 27 year-old journalist, has been waiting since she moved. Some CAF beneficiaries are slow in receiving their services.

These associations are caused by delays in payments to certain Family Allowance Funds, (CAF), which are responsible for Active Solidarity Income(RSA), Allowance For Disabled Adults/AAH, housing allowances/APL, or family allowances. Recently, the CAF was also charged with being an intermediary in the payment alimony.

Improving

Nicolas Grivel, general manager of CAF, says that although the agency has been slow in processing files for 18 months, it is now improving. "There were some difficulties in the implementation of the reform to housing aid at the beginning 2021," says Nicolas Grivel. This allows them to be calculated from the current income of beneficiaries and not backwards two years. He explains that it caused delays.

He stated that the average time for all services managed by CAF, including the personalized housing allowances (APL), takes 17 days. This is being reduced to 16 work days. . This is roughly three weeks. "We give priority social minima such as the RSA or the AAH where the response is received in less than a fortnight.

However, many recipients experience delays when they move or change their family circumstances.

"Delays can vary from checkout to checkout. These delays are usually caused by computer anomalies that have persisted after the APL reform but also staff reductions," says Frederic Neau (deputy secretary of the federal FO section social organizations). According to Frederic Neau "2,100 deletions were planned permanent contracts over 2018-22 for a total 36,000 agents" He adds that to make up for any delays, certain boxes are closed one day or one evening per week for public reception.

Nolwenn (24 years old) has not touched his APL in the seven months since he moved. "I have tried to contact Nolwenn for seven months. Sometimes I get told my file is not visible to agents when they connect to check it, and other times I am told they do see it but I must wait.

Mr. Grivel explained that video or telephone meetings have been developed between agents and users. Also, emails can be exchanged, which eliminates the need for policyholders to visit the counters. This allows for communication with the administration to be easier for the largest number of people, but it can also complicate the process for others. According to INSEE, 17% of the population suffers from illiteracy.

People in precarious situations don't feel comfortable with administrative procedures, particularly if they don't know French. And do not have a computer, printer, photocopier necessary to complete their file," explains Daniel Verger, head of Studies-Research-Opinion at Secours Catholique. Bruno Rakedjian (ATD-Quart Monde manager national access to fundamental right) says that precarious individuals find themselves in a difficult situation when they must wait for a month to get an appointment.

The associations claim that controls have been increased to prevent fraud and to suspend payments for files that contain inconsistencies. Mr. Grivel says that simple files are quickly processed, as we have all the necessary documents. Some complicated files take a while to process because they require more analysis, exchanges and interaction. He says that the current phase is positive and improving processing times.

Grivel states that benefits will be paid if there are delays in opening cases. The payments will not be made retroactively if the file has been examined late.

Emmanuel Macron mentioned the "at source" payment project during his electoral campaign. It would allow everyone to receive the aid they need without having to multiply the steps. It could be done without sacrificing it for weariness or ignorance.

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