Problems with a state computer system have prevented tens of thousands of Illinois households from receiving federal food stamp benefits since the new system’s latest phase got underway.
The Illinois Department of Human Services began rolling out a new computer system in 2013 to administer entitlement benefits, including food stamps. The second phase of that process began in late October.
State officials tell The Chicago Tribune that problems with the computer system caused more than 40,000 households to lose their food stamp benefits during November. More than 30,000 of those households remain without those benefits.
This is just… I mean… Oh, never mind. What a mess.
Officials with the Department of Human Services and representatives of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union — which represents more than 2,400 human services caseworkers in Illinois — disagree on what’s causing the problems. But both sides say they hope to restore benefits as soon as possible for those who are eligible. […]
A certain number of SNAP recipients routinely lose their benefits each month because of missed deadlines or ineligibility, but that number ballooned after the second phase of the new system was rolled out. With the old system, the state canceled some 14,000 to 15,000 cases per month, said Diane Grigsby-Jackson, director of the division of family and community services for the Department of Human Services.
On Nov. 15, under the new system, the state canceled 41,000 cases, 12,000 of which have since been reinstated, she said.
Some caseworkers on the front lines say they’re overwhelmed and undertrained.
“Everybody’s learning the new system, but the problem is we’re learning on the backs of poor people. And we’re taking their benefits away during the worst possible season,” said Vonceil Metts, a human services casework manager at a local DHS office in West Garfield Park.
…Adding… Pritzker campaign…
As the holiday season begins, tens of thousands of Illinois working families are not receiving federal food stamp benefits due to a botched program rollout by Bruce Rauner’s Department of Human Services.
In late October, the department began rolling out a new computer system to administer benefits, causing more than 40,000 households to lose access to the program. Over a month after the rollout and with the holidays quickly approaching, more than 30,000 families still had not received their benefits as of last week.
“Bruce Rauner’s mismanagement and neglect is once again devastating Illinois families as tens of thousands are now going without SNAP benefits this holiday season,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “From DCFS, to Veterans Affairs and now Human Services, Bruce Rauner has proven entirely incapable of running the government of Illinois.”