Georgia Misses Food Stamp Backlog Deadline

By: Associated Press News Email
By: Associated Press News Email

News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: April 4, 2014, 5pm

ATLANTA (AP) -- State officials say Georgia missed the deadline to clear thousands of backlogged food stamp cases.

The failure means the state is closer to losing as much as $76 million in federal funding.

The state's human services commissioner, Keith Horton, held a news conference Friday in Atlanta to announce the agency hadn't met the deadline.

Federal officials told the state to process 30,000 high-priority cases by April 1, but the state missed that mark by 337.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1lvr1W8) reports the state hopes to get a break despite the failure. It could lose as much as $76 million in federal funding if the backlog of cases isn't resolved by May 1.

The state's backlog of food stamp cases has been reduced from about 65,000 in late February.


News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: April 3, 2014, 8:15pm

ATLANTA (AP) -- Department of Human Services officials say they're requesting federal authorization to expedite food stamp distribution to the neediest of Georgia families.

Officials said Thursday that the Division of Family and Children Services is responding to a request from Gov Nathan Deal to apply for a U.S. Department of Agriculture waiver to expedite applications for about 2,700 clients.

Department officials say staffers will work to ensure tax dollars are only being spent on clients who are eligible for the services. Agency officials have cited understaffing, outdated technology and a substandard call center as contributing factors to a case backlog.

Federal officials earlier this month threatened to cut up to $76 million in administrative funding as early as May 1 if the state doesn't improve its food stamp system.


News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: March 31, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) -- Federal officials are threatening to cut off up to $76 million in administrative funding if Georgia doesn't make big changes to its food stamp system.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (http://bit.ly/1iReHP3) the funds could be yanked as early as May 1.

Because of understaffing, out-of-date technology and a call center than can't handle the call volume, thousands of Georgian have lost food stamp benefits or been blocked from applying.

The federal government pays for food stamps, and the federal and state governments split the management costs. Federal authorities say they will pull all or some of their $76 million contribution unless significant changes are made.

The newspaper says the state doesn't have to fix everything by May 1, but must alleviate the backlog of overdue cases.


News Release: Associated Press News
March 30, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) -- State officials are faced with addressing a growing rate of errors in Georgia's food stamp distribution system.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1mjF2WM) reported Sunday that Georgia spent about $138 million in overpayments to benefit recipients in 2013 and risks an outside intervention since the program is federally funded. Several factors may be contributing to the overpayments.

The newspaper reports Georgia's error rate was 3.18 percent in 2012 and 4.99 percent in 2013. A month's worth of data in 2014 showed an error rate of 5.5 percent.

Georgia Division of Family and Children Services spokeswoman Ashely Fielding says the agency doesn't have enough staff to deal with the number of applications for assistance, which have risen since the economic downturn.

The newspaper reports that overpayments have resulted in underpayments to some recipients.


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