Families on food aid, many of them with children, repeatedly wonder where their next meal will come from. A recent state check shows some of those Wake County families who need help are waiting for too long to obtain the benefits that they deserve.
When Phillip Gomez required help with his 4-month-old son, Rico, he turned to Wake County Human Services.
“This is my first time going through this situation because I’m a single father”. “They’ve been really helpful getting things done same day, not having to wait too long.”
Thus, he was shocked to learn about a state review which found extensive mistakes in food assistance applications.
“Clearly it is concerning. There are families out there that need help,” he said.
The state reviewed up to 130 food stamp applications and found that almost 77 percent of them had faults. 30 percent or almost one in three involved food stamp applications that should have been approved within 30 days, but were not.
In fact, the review found three applications that were old at least 60 days.
To conclude, inspectors noted several complaint calls about why the process of approval was taking so long.
Another Wake County client, Patricia Winston, was also surprised. She is pleased with the services she receives, but then again the findings concerned her.
She said; “I think that is terrible and I just pray to God they get it together so it won’t be so hard on people”.
In response, Wake County’s communications director said; “We regret that mistakes were found in how we process FNS applications … We have by now taken steps to help prevent these errors from happening again, and also we are ensuring our staff is correctly trained.”
The State Department of Health and Human Services will continue to review the problem. Yet there is no indication any disciplinary action will be taken contrary to the county.