RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake County mother is calling the food stamps program a waste of taxpayer money after she told WTVD she kept getting assistance even when she didn’t qualify for it.
WTVD reported that the woman – who asked not to be identified – first applied for food stamps last November when she lost her job.
“I was just in a rut. I had no income, no savings,” she said. “I have a child living in the house, so I needed some assistance.”
For nearly six months, she and her daughter received $151 dollars in food stamps every month. But in May, she got a new job as an administrative assistant, making $25 an hour.
She said she was excited and tried contacting her case worker by telephone and email to say she no longer needed assistance.
She said there was no immediate reply. She said she finally heard from her case worker in an email three weeks after repeatedly alerting Wake County she didn’t need food stamps.
The email said the county needed to look at her new income at her next recertification for food stamps. This will not happen until November, meaning she’d be receiving government money for six more months, despite not qualifying for it.
Liz Scott is in charge of the food stamp program in Wake County. Scott said the caseworker of the woman in question followed government policy.
Scott said it is possible that there are going to be situations where people may receive benefits they are not entitled to because of a delay and the processing.
“We have specific rules about when we can take action to reduce or terminate benefits, and so many days of advanced notice has to be given. And she absolutely did the right thing in reporting,” Scott said, according to WTVD.
The woman in question said she will finally be able to stop receiving food stamps – after sending numerous emails asking the county to close her case.
“It really is crazy because the government is trying to cut all these expenses, Medicaid, education and things that really should be looked at and taken care of wisely,” she said.
Wake County says under a new computer program, which went into effect June 1, food stamp recipients who report a change in their income will be dealt with immediately and will not have to wait until they meet with a case worker.