Guilford County says food stamp backlog down

Mar. 29, 2014 @ 12:29 AM

GREENSBORO — Officials in Guilford County say they have reduced the backlog of unprocessed food stamp applications that threaten to keep the state from getting $88 million in federal money.

The News & Record of Greensboro reports (http://bit.ly/1f2dt2E) that county officials now say the backlog is at 3,100, down from as many as 8,100 earlier in the week.

The backlog has to be cleared by Monday.

Guilford County Commissioner Ray Trapp said state officials met Wednesday with the local DSS board and County Manager Marty Lawing to tackle Guilford's backlog.

Robert Williams, the director of the county's Department of Social Services said he is "very confident" they'll meet the Monday deadline.

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos (vahsh) told a General Assembly oversight committee Wednesday social service offices had appeared on track to resolve the roughly 500 applications by next Monday. But she also said she was worried news of additional pending applications in Guilford County could scuttle that goal.

Guilford County DSS employees are working overtime alongside 20 workers sent by the state in order to meet the deadline. About 70 people were working on the backlog by Thursday, according to the county's social services office.

Once the backlog is eliminated, the county will investigate how it occurred in the first place and why DSS officials misled county leaders about it, Lawing said.

Trapp said the system obviously has to be fixed.

"Going forward this is something we need to address as a county," Trapp said. "There is no reason Guilford County should be this far behind when other large, urban counties are able to manage this."