GREENSBORO, NC -- You've heard the promises. Families in need of food heard the promises. For the last year, Guilford County Department of Social Services has been working to fix the food stamp processing problems.
Monday night, county leaders told WFMY News 2 right before our 5 o'clock news the food stamp backlog was cleared and the USDA deadline was met. As soon as we heard that news, we passed it along to you. Taxpayers were happy to hear the system they are paying for is actually working. More importantly, families waiting for food benefits, had new hope.
And then 9 am hit. Families called to confirm the money was in their accounts. And for too many, the money and the food still didn't exist. The families started calling us. One mother let us listen into her conversation with DSS.
Legally we can't record it, which is why you'll see 2WTK's Ben Briscoe using an ear piece to listen in. We've blurred the mom out to protect the county worker she talked with on the phone. 2 Wants To Know doesn't want that worker to lose their job for telling the truth to the mom she's trying to help.
"It makes me feel like I'm not good enough for my children if I can't provide for them, " says the Mom. She says her family has been without food stamps since December. When she watched the news and heard the deadline was met, she expected money to be on her food benefits card Tuesday morning.
But there was no money. We waited on the phone for almost an hour. We asked the mom to repeat what she was hearing from the case worker.
"Oh so actually they not finished with all the backlog like they told the newscasters yesterday?"
The worker's words are opposite of what the county said. As we continued to listen in, Ben heard the worker say, "No Not quite finished with all of it."
2 Wants To know took this mom's case and these new findings to interim DSS Director Myra Thompson. She was just appointed Tuesday. "I don't know what to say. We've been working with the state. We've been working with our staff and one of the issues was we had backlog that we had to meet per USDA and we feel that those are caught up."
Ben asked, "Are all the outstanding cases processed right now.?"
"Well like we just talked about there might be some that's in the system that's hung up that we're unaware it hadn't been processed. So we ask those people to do call us."
Ben responded, "She's been calling and calling and calling. So how did you not know she had a problem?"
"Ahhh. I don't know. I don't know. All I know is I got a call today and I ran around and I got it taken care of. I'm not sure who she spoke to or. I'm not sure. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you, I don't know what happened."
The new director has set up a hotline for those who are delayed in getting their food stamps. Call 641-3100 and leave your name, phone number, address, date of last food stamps. The director is promising a response within 24 hours of your call.
When you call, use a cellphone so there is proof of the number you called, the time and date. If DSS doesn't get back in touch with you in the promised 24 hours, call 2WTK 379-5605.