GUILFORD, N.C. – Several counties across North Carolina tell 2 Wants To Know they had to hire extra help to stay on top of food stamp applications because of problems with NC Fast.
In Davidson County for example, the Department of Social Services brought back two workers who had retired. The pair costs about $1,000 per week.
"What we're trying to do is get eligible people their benefits. And that has become a struggle. Our staff cannot get as much accomplished in this system right now as they could in the old system," Davidson County DSS Director Dale Moorefield said.
That means even more staff is needed. Davidson plans on hiring four more workers - raising costs to $3000 per week.
Forsyth County also brought in extra workers. 20 of them. A cost of about $10,000 a week.
"They've just done whatever we needed them to do. They've made phone calls to try and help us get information," Kim Collie of Forsyth DSS said. "They've called employers. Anything like that to speed the process up."
Wake County is using 37 extra workers - budgeted at $25,000 a week. And Mecklenberg has 55 extra temporary workers - those cost the county an estimated $25,000 per week. Altogether, that's $63,000 per week for extra workers. And that's just the counties which called us back.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services says part of the reason several counties hired extra workers is also because of growing case demand since the recession began in 2008. It sent over this statement from DHHS spokesperson Kevin Howell:
"The NC FAST system is working well for food stamp benefits, as evidenced by the counties ability to meet the February 10 deadline and address the remaining backlog. Our long-term goal is to help counties plan for sustainable and timely processing as we move forward. This is a multi-pronged approach that requires DHHS and the counties to work together to develop key metrics so counties can determine adequate staffing levels, improve business processes in the counties, and workflow issues within the NC FAST system."