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Documents : HELP with PPPL Requests

Understanding What Personal Data Is Available from OTDA

OTDA has primary responsibility for the maintenance of New York State's Welfare Management System (WMS), the computer system that local social services districts and supervising state agencies [OTDA, OCFS and DOH] have used for decades to enter and store data on applicants and recipients of the various programs they administer.

WMS has many sub-systems, such as the Fair Hearing Information System (FHIS), which is used to track each Fair Hearing, and the Client Notices System (CNS), which produces individualized, computer-generated notice based on data entered in WMS.

From a functional point of view, there are two separate (software) versions of WMS: one for New York City and the other for all of the other 57 counties in New York State. Plans are slowly being implemented to replace WMS with a single, statewide, multi-functional computer system called the Statewide Welfare Management System (SWMS). This is the human services equivalent of boring a water tunnel, a decades-long endeavor that will be implemented in phases.

For PPPL purposes, it is not necessary to specify the source of personal data or what computer system stores such data. Accordingly, there is no need to mention WMS in a PPPL request to OTDA.

Nevertheless, it may be helpful in some instances to identify some specific WMS reports which will contain the personal information you are seeking. To understand the range and types of reports that are available from OTDA, it is useful to review the WMS Inquiry Guide available at: http://onlineresources.wnylc.net/nychra/docs/wms_nyc_inquiry_manual_06-26-95.pdf. Although this guide is designed for use with the NYC version of WMS, most of the reports are available from both versions of WMS.

The PPPL specifically requires state agencies to provide explanations of any codes or symbols found in reports which contain personal data. See Public Officers Law § 95(1)(c); 18 NYCRR § 339.2(c)(3)(i).

Explanations of most WMS codes can be found in OTDA's WMS Worker's Guide to Codes available at: http://onlineresources.wnylc.net/FairHearingResources/docs/wms_worker_s_guide_to_codes__02-20-12_.pdf.

Explanations of most codes used specifically for FHIS are available at: http://onlineresources.wnylc.net/FairHearingResources/showfaq.asp?fldAuto=7.



Created: 7/6/2008
Updated: 12/8/2015