RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some families in Wake County are without their SNAP benefits as they wait months to be recertified.
One family tells CBS 17 they probably won’t see their SNAP benefits until after Thanksgiving, or possibly Christmas.
“I’m worried about my family, other families, and seniors that are dealing with this,” a member of the family said.
The family member, who wants to remain anonymous, shared that she is a disabled mother of three in Wake County.
Right now, she says she can’t access benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) while she waits to be recertified.
She said she’s called for information and hasn’t gotten many answers.
“The lady told me that they are currently right here in November, processing recertifications for September. I recertified in October, so I should’ve gotten my benefits this week and I didn’t,” she said.
The woman tells CBS 17 she is planning to pinch pennies and do what she can to feed her family this holiday season.
“I had to use our bill money to buy groceries,” she explained. “So here I am buying groceries with the cash that I should be paying my bills with.”
Why is there a delay?
The Wake County Division of Human Services says they’re processing requests as fast as they can.
Yolanda McInnis, Economic Services Division director with the Wake County Division of Human Services, says the delay is caused by a surge of recertifications after the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the onset of the pandemic, the federal government funded emergency allotments for people enrolled in the Food and Nutrition Services program. That allotment gave people at least an extra $95 a month in food benefits and only required recertifications every 12 months instead of six.
Earlier this year, COVID-19 food benefits emergency allotments ended and recipients were again required to recertify every six months.
What is Wake County doing to help?
McInnis said Wake County is one of several large counties in North Carolina to receive the surge of recertifications.
“The current staff is working overtime, we are reaching out to temp agencies to see if we can get some temporary staff in, we’re pulling staff from other programs to assist us,” she said.
She said they’re trying to catch up, so fewer families have to wait.
“It can be anywhere from 31 days to 60 to 90 days, just depending on when the person turned in their case,” McInnis explained. “Also, do we have all the information to process your case? Because we could have the recertification, but we’re waiting on income on proof of residency.”
“I want them to know that we care,” she said in a message to recipients. “It matters to us. Each case is a family, so we’re working as hard as we can and we know it matters.”
The Wake County Division of Social Services shared a list of resources where families can get help while they wait for their recertification. Click here to access the list, and click here for more resources.