Welfare recipients forced to wait hours for food stamps
Many frustrated viewers are reaching out to Action News wanting to know why it's taking hours to reach anyone at the welfare office.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Many frustrated viewers are reaching out to Action News wanting to know why it's taking hours to reach anyone at the welfare office.
Laura Calderon joins so many others at the welfare office waiting hours to work out their food stamp benefits.
"We're very frustrated. Neither one of us has eaten," she says.
Her daughter called the hotline only to have to wait 20 minutes before reaching an employee, and that's after dialing all day.
"She always gets busy signals so she keeps calling and hanging up. She has it on redial 24/7," says Calderon.
This is the result of a massive back log of cases the welfare division deals with as unemployment runs out, and more people look to the state to feed their families.
"Our biggest issue though is volume. We have a lot more people in need in Nevada than we have the capacity to serve as timely as they'd like us to," says Rachelle Church with the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.
The state gets a total of 15,000 food stamp and Medicaid applications every month only about 76 percent of them get processed in a timely manner. A big set back is the mandated furlough. They lose 5,000 man hours a month, and with three holidays falling in a month's time, 50 thousand more man hours are lost. That also creates an overload of calls to their phone system can't handle.
"Our phone system is outdated so it can't be upgraded or enhanced to adapt to the increased volume. So there is some technology the division could use if the state could find the funding to buy it," says Church.
Which can be hard to do on an empty stomach.
State leaders say they will be streamlining how they do business to a more effective program. Those changes should come in the next few months. The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services also urge people to use the web services to re-apply and check their status. That information can be found here.