Georgia food stamp program plagued by problems - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia food stamp program plagued by problems

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

"Thank you for calling. Goodbye."

That's part of a recording that some frustrated south Georgia food stamp recipients are hearing when they try to find out why they're no longer getting food stamp benefits.

A problem with a new state system that was supposed to make getting benefit renewals easier for food stamp and Medicaid recipients is actually preventing some of them from getting their benefits.

Kristen Dougherty lost her full-time job recently, and Heather Rhoad is homeless. They say they depend on the money they get to buy groceries.

They found out last week there's no money in their food stamp accounts, and they can't get any answers about the problem.

"This morning I was on hold for two hours, and then I tried to call a different number, and it says that they're too busy they can't take your call, and it disconnects you," said Dougherty.

Rhoad said, "I'll be on hold from 8:00 in the morning to 5:00 at night. There's no way I can get somebody, and I've gone down to the office here, and nobody will help me."

The Division of Family and Children Services recently put a new process in place called Georgia One that allows people to complete benefit renewals over the phone or online, but some clients did not get renewal notices or received them after their benefits were cut off.

The phone system has also been overwhelmed by people calling with questions and complaints.

DFACS officials say they are working to solve the problems.

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