Missouri’s new food stamp system not showing signs of improvement

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by KMOV.com Staff | @KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 15 at 8:21 PM

 (KMOV) – News 4 received more complaints regarding Missouri’s new food stamp application system and how it’s not working.

"People who are applicants for services are very frustrated,” said Karen Warren of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. This organization helps some of the people who are denied food stamps.

She is hearing the same complaints of people waiting for months, requests for information already turned in and people unable to talk with a case worker.

This started when the Family Support Division tried to streamline service in the St. Louis area. They had applicants put their paperwork in a drop box without meeting with a caseworker face-to-face and waited for a telephone interview.

"Because of the nature of their livelihood they may not have enough money or are behind on their bill so they may not have access to regular phone service," Warren said.

Last November, case worker, Holly Roe told News 4 these changes have made it harder for her and other case workers to do their jobs.

“Most of us no longer know our caseloads we don’t know our clients anymore. Our clients no longer know us,” said Roe.

It is designed to make things better but some are questioning whether it was an improvement or a step back.

Warren said “as things are now from the clients’ perspective I don't think they will view it as an improvement.”

She said there is another potential problem with the denials and reapplications, eligibility specialists maybe getting swamped.

So what’s meant to be more efficient actually slow things down?

People who have been turned down have the right for an administrative appeal.

Some are reversed while some people are forced to start the application process all over again.

Warren recommends anyone going through this should be persistent as possible.

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