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DSS Too Slow To Give Out Food Stamps Says Class Action

by Christine Stuart | Mar 5, 2012 11:11pm
(3) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Courts

(Updated 3:26 p.m.) The Department of Social Services is coming under fire again. This time for its inability to process food stamp benefits in a timely manner.

A class action filed in U.S. District Court Monday alleges thousands on needy families have gone hungry because they don’t have prompt access to food stamp benefits, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

In January legal aid attorneys filed a similar lawsuit against the department for failing to process Medicaid applications in a timely manner.

In February 2011 DSS told lawmakers that between January 2010 and December 2011 there were anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of food stamp applications that had been pending for 30-days or longer. And their ability to process them has gotten worse, not better over the years.

According to the lawsuit the agency’s timeliness rate was 83.01 percent in 2008, 79.11 percent in 2009, and 59.49 percent in 2010.

DSS spokesman David S. Dearborn said it was disappointing that Greater Hartford Legal Aid went to court rather than continuing to work with department on practical solutions. DSS is already re-investing in technology and staffing, “reversing the trend of inattention to the agency’s infrastructure over the past decade or more,” he said in a statement.

“As Commissioner Bremby has emphasized, issues resulting from antiquated computer systems and chronic understaffing can’t be solved in a matter of months, especially in light of growing enrollment,” Dearborn said. “But we are committed to making these improvements in a way that respects both public service needs and fiscal responsibility.”

Even with logistical challenges, over 375,000 residents are currently receiving benefits under the SNAP program, he said.

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(3) Comments

posted by: Sillysoft | March 7, 2012  1:44am

More frivolous lawsuits

http://ebtcardbalance.com/

posted by: lkulmann | March 7, 2012  8:53am

At what point does the federal government get involved in CT. This is absolutely unbelievable. DSS is completely out of line and out of touch with the health and well being of the public. Let me understand this…David Dearborn, the DSS spokesman, said that Legal Aid should help work on practicle problems rather than legally represent people who are being denied food and healthcare? Wait…I need a second to figure…

posted by: lkulmann | March 7, 2012  9:04am

...Our computer system at DSS is not updated enough and staffing is low so the PUBLIC goes without medical and nutritional assistance funded by the federal government. I believe these programs are accessible directly through the federal government services. Can’t we just bypass CT DSS and send our applications directly to the HHS and cut out the middle man…It seems that what happens in CT STAYS in CT…this is outrageous? President Obama would explode if he knew this was going on in CT….