Locals in need faring better than rest of state | SummitDaily.com
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Locals in need faring better than rest of state

JENNIFER HUFFMAN

SUMMIT COUNTY – While thousands of needy Coloradans will be waiting months for Food Stamp benefits due to counties falling behind in processing claims, Summit County’s poor are not in the same position, according to Summit County Social Services.Teams from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Stamp program visited the state Department of Human Resources, a data entry center and five Colorado counties and found it would take at least two months to eliminate the backlog in those spots.Arapahoe, Jefferson and Pueblo counties were so far behind in some Food Stamp cases, the USDA’s teams said they had no idea when those counties would catch up. According to Jenny Blackwell, county benefits coordinator for the Food Stamp and Medicaid programs, Summit County doesn’t have an extended backlog for Food Stamp Program applications and only has a slight one for Medicaid.”People are not doing without in Summit County,” Blackwell said. “They’re just having to wait a bit longer.” In Summit County, applicants are waiting from three weeks to a month for their Medicaid applications to process. The application states that it may take up to 45 days for the application to be processed, so the county is still within standard limits. “There was a backlog for awhile on food stamp applications,” Blackwell said. “This new system has had more of an effect on the larger counties.”The “new system” is the state’s new $200 million welfare computer system. Gov. Bill Owens ordered the processing system to be implemented Sept. 1 despite pleas from county officials and an independent consultant who insisted it wasn’t ready. It has been blamed for leaving thousands without food stamps, pension payments, Medicaid and other assistance, and for creating backlogs of thousands of applicants.- The Associated Press contributed to this story


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