Friday, April 17, 2009

State: Feeding New Hungry like "Drinking from a Firehose"

Facing rapidly rising need, state officials have announced a temporary halt to the expansion of TIERS, a new system for processing SNAP benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps). 

“It’s tough to make any changes when you’re drinking from a fire hose,” said Stephanie Goodman, a spokesman for the state.

Nearly 3 million Texans are now receiving SNAP benefits, up 20% from the same time last year. 

Advocates and legislators approved of the halt. Many have been critical of the system, which has documented problems with lost paperwork and timeliness. "We cannot have a situation where technical glitches hold up food and medical care for hard working mothers and families in our area," said Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown).

HHSC has had "some challenges in achieving the timeliness benchmarks," admitted HHSC Commissioner Albert Hawkins. The deteriorating economy has just added more stress to the rollout of this new system. 

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