State of Illinois runs out of envelopes, benefits delayed -

State of Illinois runs out of envelopes, benefits delayed

ALTON, Il. (KMOV) -- In the months of January and February, the Illinois Department of Human Services says it ran out of the envelopes they needed to mail re-determination forms to thousands of SNAP (food stamp) benefit recipients in the state. 

Recipients are required to fill out the forms and send back proof that they are still eligible for food stamps every six months.  The state's delay made some people late in returning their paperwork and then delayed their benefits.

Kelly Hobbs of Alton says her $280 in food stamp benefits were supposed to be added to her Illinois Link Card (used like a debit card) on March 7th.  When the funds didn't arrive, she began making calls.  Hobbs says, at first, someone in the East Alton DHS office told her that Hobbs was the one who caused the delay.

"She told me, in her eyes, I had no food stamp case what-so-ever," said Hobbs.

Hobbs says she pushed the issue and eventually learned that the state ran out of envelopes.

A DHS spokesperson denied the envelope shortage was the result of a budget issue.  Januari Smith says it was a procurement problem.  The state ordered the envelopes in October, but the delivery was delayed.  Smith said that put staff behind in addressing and stuffing the re-determination letters.

Smith said the affected benefit recipients would have the benefits fully restored.

Hobbs says a state medical assistance card was also late.  She showed News 4 an envelope that was postmarked March 1st.  It contained an eligibility card for the period of March 1 - 31st.

Smith said she didn't know of any other benefit delays.

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