Food stamp issues continue in Guilford Co.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Recertification backlogs for food stamp renewal continue to be a problem in Guilford County.

One day after Commissioner Ray Trapp told FOX8 News the backlog was cleared and a federal deadline had been met, it was revealed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that there were in fact still 195 backlogged recertifications that had been overlooked and were not included in the original count.

The Department of Health and Human Services does not anticipate the Guilford County cases and others around the state to cost North Carolina the $88 million dollars in federal funding that was at stake by not meeting the March 31 deadline.

“DHHS is proud of the results achieved through the collaboration of the state and counties,” said Secretary Aldona Wos. “We anticipate the USDA will acknowledge our continued commitment to the state’s most vulnerable citizens, and accept the hard work of county and state staff to reduce the backlog and our efforts to achieve sustainable, timely processing of FNS applications and recertifications.”

A hotline has been established to help those still struggling for more than one month without food stamp assistance.

The phone number for help is 336-641-3100. Make sure you leave your name, address, phone number and indicate how long you’ve been without benefits when you leave a message.

“I don’t have an explanation,” said Myra Thompson, interim director of Guilford County’s Department of Social Services. “All I know is we didn’t do something right and fixing it– that’s what we’re planning on doing.”

Food stamps recipients are frustrated by the delays.

“My momma lives up in West Virginia, she gets [food stamps] right away,” said Samantha Metz who saw her benefits disappear three months ago.

On Friday, the now former director of the program Robert Williams blamed the new NC FAST system on the problem. He said it was also to blame for the problem not being discovered until just a few days before the deadline.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services responded to the comments Monday. A spokesman for the department said the system was working fine but did not reflect the backlog because the information had not been properly entered into the system. Therefore, there was no way to see a backlog using the NC FAST computer system.

Since then, extra resources have been pulled in to help Guilford county catch up, including 22 people from the state.

“We are pleased with the progress made by Guilford County and state staff this weekend,” said Kevin Howell, a DHHS spokesperson. “DHHS staff is still on the ground assisting Guilford County and we will continue to assist them in meeting the USDA’s guidelines.”

At least three state DHHS workers are expected to remain in Greensboro through the weekend to help staff identify mistakes workers made with the NC FAST system.

County leaders said the extra help has been appreciated.

“If at all possible we would have loved to work through the weekend but we understand the [computer] system had to go down,” said Trapp.

Trapp said the focus moving forward will be on stabilizing the department and ensuring this problem of backlogs in the food stamps recertification process is not repeated.

Statewide, a total of 375 recertification applications that have stretched past 30 days still need to be processed.

14 comments

  • NobodyAtAll

    Excuses, excuses, excuses…And yep, my dog ate my homework too…The “hotline established”, 641-3100 is Guilford County DSS as it has always been…It’s nothing new…There’s a sign on I-40 that reads, “Guilford County..North Carolina’s Future”…Hmmmm, I wonder what they mean..

  • Burt

    The wrong people are on food stamps the elderly really need help and those who have hit hard times and not those who are pure ghetto trash that lay around drinking 40s all day and making babies and their baby daddy is to sorry to work !!!!!

  • Jerry

    I hope that is an old fashion “etch a schetch” that the young lady is holding. I cant imagine that she would have a $400 tablet computer and need food stamps. Just the monthly fee to use it would put a lot of beans on the table.

  • Billy

    The human survival and tenacity gene has atrophied. You didn’t get food stamps in the pioneer days. You either worked to earn your keep, you hunted, or you expired.

    • JT

      Yeah–you also died of cholera and polio in the “old days” you pine for, Billy. Things were so much, uh, better then, weren’t they? Look, I know you, the Tea Party and their ilk still wishe this was the 18th century, but we have moved on. So, this is a formal invitation for you to either A. Catch up to at least the 20th century, or B. Move out of the way and stop serving as a speed bump on the highway of progress.

  • Billy

    You’re right JT socialism in all its forms have always been a success. Just look at the progress made by Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Look at all of the modern governments where they’ve tried it such as the former Soviet Union and Venezuela. All glittery utopian success stories. Government handouts destroy the human spirit and the desire to reach for something better.

    • JT

      Ooops, you screwed up again, Billy–what you cited were totalitarian dictatorships, NOT socialist societies. I award you no points, you have failed the history exam and will have to repeat 10th grade social studies (should come as no surprise). Correct identifications of modern countries with socialist leanings are Germany or Holland. As an addendum to your answer, we ask that since you are so fond of the 18th century lifestyle, you should put your money where your mouth is. You are no longer allowed to use modern technology, you may only eat what you raise or kill, and you can no longer use modern medicine. We will attend your wake in 6 months.

  • Billy

    Regardless of the form of government whether it be Totalitarian, Communist, or Fascist in the case of the National Socialists (Nazis) they all had a common thread based on Socialism. I actually used to be like your kind. At one point I was also young, angry, immature and thought I had all of the answers. Due to all of this baggage I was a liberal. Then a wonderful thing happened and I grew up, got an education, and saw the world as it actually was not what I fantasized it should be. One day it may happen to you but until then enjoy your wild rants and name calling. Free Markets and individual liberty without overwhelming government intervention is the most fair and equitable distribution of resources there has ever been and that not just an opinion but an absolute fact.

    • JT

      How many times can you be wrong in a single day? First, National Socialism’s precedent was Social Darwinism–you know, the stuff you seem to espouse by advocating letting the poor starve. Statistically, you are 3 paychecks away from being in the exact same position they are in (self loathing much)? I’m hardly young (40), am highly educated (hold two advanced degrees and speak a foreign language fluently), and the only thing that really makes me angry are people who hate others (as you seem to hate the poor). And if the free market were really what you say it is (the most fair and equitable distribution of resources), how come the richest 2% in this country hold more property/goods/money than the bottom 98% holds combined? Further, there is no vitriol in my language–I let conservatives do that.

      • Will Grant

        Oh, brother…”two advanced degress”…whatever helps you sleep at night, chief. Your writings lead one to believe you would like nothing better than to be in charge of “redistributing” wealth…”fairly” of course…typical self-delusional socialist who never outgrew liberalism. Do you even lift?

  • SaysWhoNC

    Why have other counties handled NC FAST so much better than Guilford? This frankly looks like a local DSS management problem.

  • JT

    Will Grant, if you cannot contribute anything more to a conversation than ignorant insults, please refrain from commenting. And I sleep very well at night, scheissekopf. Now, kindly return to your rock.

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