(Continued from open letter about the Company's response to COVID-19)
COVID-19 is unlike any other crisis that government or MAXIMUS has addressed in recent memory. The threat is truly global – moving across borders on a timeline no one can predict with certainty – which means we cannot just shift calls and work to other program sites outside affected areas. COVID-19 can strike anyone, which means we must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent, identify, and contain outbreaks across all of our locations.
We are making significant progress in shifting many employees to telework amidst shortages in the IT equipment supply chain that many companies are facing due to unforeseen demand. We continue to press forward and are collaborating with our clients to create solutions and acquire resources that will support teleworking across the Company.
COVID-19 is already triggering large numbers of people to contact government programs for health information and emergency assistance. At the national level, we are supporting the CDC with a 24/7 service while at the state level, we are responding to surges in COVID-19 related calls.
Additionally, we are assisting our government clients outside the United States. For example, we are working with the government in the United Kingdom to support the need for additional clinicians who wish to volunteer on behalf of the National Health Service and are working to deploy administrative staff to provide much-needed assistance on the ground for other ministries. This further illustrates how our clients value our partnership and look to us to assist in a time of critical need.
As we have seen in other crisis response efforts following natural disasters and economic downturns, this initial surge will continue to ripple across a broad range of government programs as people seek services and assistance. Already, application volumes for new unemployment benefit claims have been higher than any surge since the 1970s. Programs like Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF and their international equivalents will likely experience surges in applications in the coming weeks as well. People will seek help in finding work. Parents will ask that their child support obligations be adjusted to reflect significantly reduced incomes. Students will have questions about their student loans. And so on.
One thing is certain: government programs will require support to tackle these challenges. MAXIMUS is fully prepared to help federal, state, provincial, and local governments bridge those gaps to get the job done.