GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Employees at Guilford County Department of Social Services will be working through the weekend to meet the March 31 federal deadline to clear all backlogged food stamp applications and recertifications.
As of Monday afternoon, DSS officials said there are still 3,100 backlogged recertification cases. However, they are confident they will meet Monday’s deadline.
Teresa Higgins has been waiting for her food stamps for six months. She found out why it has taken so long when she visited the DSS office Friday.
“They said the application has just been sitting on the computer since August,” said Higgins.
State officials had no idea there was a significant backlog in Guilford County until Wednesday, because the numbers they were monitoring on NC FAST were wrong.
“We are reviewing our business processes. Needless to say that is where the issues really lie. How we do business on a daily basis is what this is really about,” said Guilford County DSS Director Robert Williams.
Now, Williams says every case will be entered into the state system immediately. Supervisors will also start monitoring how many cases are processed on a daily basis, so a backlog like this doesn’t happen again.
“We take this very serious,” said Williams.
Williams says 96 employees, including 22 people from the state, will work overtime through the weekend to meet Monday’s deadline at 7:30 p.m.
“The worker I talked to today seems really sincere. She seemed really upset that I hadn’t gotten mine in so long,” said Higgins on Friday. “She said I should get my benefits tomorrow. So it doesn’t take long, it’s just a matter of getting them to do it.”