Families Grapple with Thanksgiving Georgia SNAP Benefits Delays, System Challenges
Georgia SNAP Benefit Delays Compound Thanksgiving Struggles for Families
According to source, families in Georgia are grappling with significant delays in Georgia SNAP benefits, impacting their ability to provide basic meals just one day before Thanksgiving. Despite the state attributing the backlog to increased need, worker shortages, and technological challenges, internal documents reveal additional strains from a ‘one-time cash assistance program’ and a related security issue. The delay in Georgia SNAP benefits, intended as a safety net, has left families like Claudine-Ashleigh McKoy feeling unsupported, with community resources already stretched thin. The situation is further complicated by families being referred to food banks, which are also grappling with increased demand due to inflation and food insecurity issues.
The backlog in Georgia SNAP benefits approval, reported since last Thanksgiving, has been exacerbated by a surge in renewals and a request for overtime due to diversion towards the ‘one-time cash assistance program.’ Launched in September 2022, the cash assistance program faced issues, including problems accessing funds and warnings about scammers.
A security issue affecting the Gateway system, used for Georgia SNAP benefits processing, is detailed in a November 2022 report and a USDA waiver, disrupting families’ ability to submit documentation for continued benefits. The waiver, while expediting fixes, shifted tens of thousands of renewals to the following year, causing a cascading effect.
Addressing Georgia SNAP Benefits Backlog: DHS Implements Measures to Cope with Fall Application Surge
Georgia’s Department of Human Services is addressing the backlog of Georgia SNAP benefits through various measures, including hiring, overtime and bringing back retired caseworkers. The department acknowledges the impact of the cash assistance program but emphasizes the main driver of the uneven workload distribution as the increase in Georgia SNAP applications during the fall.
While internal projections suggest the Georgia SNAP benefits backlog may persist until January 31, 2024 they remain subject to change. The Governor’s office referred questions to DHS, leaving families like McKoy in continued uncertainty.