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Delay in SNAP benefits forcing some Georgia families to change Thanksgiving plans or skip them

Choosing between paying bills or buying groceries for Thanksgiving, is the ultimatum for many Georgia families after November SNAP benefits were delayed.

“It’s been a struggle,” said Recipient Alexis Lorren. ”There’s a lot of people on there saying they haven’t received (their benefits). They were supposed to get them on the fifth, then the 13th.”

SNAP a federally funded program helps low income households pay for groceries.

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Alexis Lorren, a Haralson County SNAP recipient says they’ve been waiting weeks to receive her SNAP benefits for her family of three.

A spokesperson with the State Department of Human Services says the lag in issuing out funds, was due to inflation and workforce shortages.

While also dealing with increased volume of snap applications, that directly impacted those who were awaiting renewals from August through October.

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A department of human services employee told Channel 2′s Ashli Lincoln over the phone, maintaining staff is hard considering the demand. The employee says it’s taking processors well over an hour to process applications, opposed to the recommended 30 minutes.

They’re also seeing an increase in foreign language applications that have to be translated by a third party. And extended processing times for applicants with large families.

The State Department of Human Services complete statement, writing:

“Benefits have been processed for customers with pending renewals from August-October 2022 who have completed their paperwork. Renewals for these customers have been moved to February, and they will receive benefits in the interim.

Due to inflation and workforce shortages, we are working through increased volume for SNAP applications and renewals.

Last Friday, the federal government approved our waiver request to extend SNAP benefits for no more than six months for customers with pending renewals from August-October 2022 who have completed their paperwork. Deloitte, our vendor that administers the Gateway portal, is working on a technology solution where they project customers will be caught up by the Thanksgiving holiday.

We continue to process cases, and all customers should still return their renewal packets, requested information, and any verification checklists (VCLs) the Department asks for, especially if they have not done so and if they are up for renewal in November.”