Cassandra Greene has had to fight just to hold onto her food stamp benefits.
Greene is one of thousands of Georgians applying for food stamps or seeking renewal who complain they have been forced to sit on hold with the Department of Human Services as they wait for someone to pick up the phone.
"I struggled just trying to get through to talk to someone," Greene said. "No time, I ever called was it less than 45 minutes. I stayed on the phone to speak with someone."
In many cases, people complain they could not get through at all and lost their benefits as a result.
The problems have built up a backlog of thousands of applicants.
The federal government is threatening to cut off $76 million in funding if the state does not resolve the problem by May 1.
The state has asked the U.S. Agriculture Department for permission to speed up processing applications.
Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal, in a written statement said:
"We sent the letter that would allow automatic approval for 'expedited cases,' which are for applicants with no income. We would then do the due diligence to review their eligibility and claw back the benefits if they're not eligible."
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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