The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services says it’s cleared its backlog of thousands of food stamp cases and is now waiting to find out whether it will lose millions in federal funding.As heard on the radio
DFCS had until May 14 to finish processing more than 30,000 backlogged cases.
Spokeswoman Ashley Fielding said the division submitted documents to the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week and is now waiting for a response.
“All of the priority group has been eliminated as of the week of April 22,” Fielding said.
The backlog resulted from staffing shortages and glitches with a call-center already inundated with hundreds daily calls. Food stamp recipients complained of hours-long call waiting periods to renew their claims, calls that sometimes went unanswered.
In March, USDA ordered the state to clear its backlog and implement a corrective action plan by month’s end or risk losing $75 million.
DFCS fell just short of that goal last month, with 337 cases still overdue. The division was given through April to address lingering cases and show significant progress on the corrective plan, or face losing $15 million.
Fielding says that benchmark has been met and the corrective plan is working.
“We certainly believe that the workload prioritization that we’ve put in place has put us in a place where fewer cases are coming overdue on a daily basis and you can see that in those numbers,” she said.
Fielding says most of DFCS’ 301 current backlogged cases are awaiting more information from the client.
She says DFCS is still working to improve its call-center and expedite the call-in process.
Officials with USDA say they’ve received the updated backlog numbers from DFCS.
A spokesperson says the department is currently reviewing the information and will decide whether DFCS has met the requirements in the coming weeks.