Food stamp recipients voice concerns - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Food stamp recipients voice concerns

Posted: Updated:

Amber Giddens works for $8 an hour. She's glad to have a job, but it doesn't pay enough to feed her and her three kids, so she depends on food stamps to help. Giddens says she never worried if her food stamps would come until July 1st when the State of Louisiana closed some offices and switched to a customer service call center.

The call center and online resources are available 24/7. Trey Williams with the Department of Children and Family Services says they sent out informational mailers to their clients telling them about the switch, but many people were still caught off guard.

"Anytime that a change is made after years and years of doing it one way, there's going to be a transition time," said Williams.

The new system is supposed to improve efficiency.

"In the past, someone might have had a specific worker, so you know, Mrs. Jones was always my food stamp worker," said Jones.

Now, when you call you will talk with whoever is available, and the person available could mean anyone working across the state.

"There really is not a need to have that face to face anymore," Williams said.

Williams says this helps process the many applications they get more quickly.  About 383,000 people in the state depend on food stamps.  46,000 of those are in the Shreveport region.

Ebony Walton likes the new system.

"I don't have to do any waiting. Just call the number and everything goes through," said Walton.

However several recipients, like Giddens, say a phone does not replace a person.

"No one knows our case anymore. No one knows us as a person anymore," she said.

The Department of Children and Family services, the agency that runs food stamps and other assistance programs says the 1-800 number is helpful .Or you can go to their web site.

The number is 1-888-LAHELP-U or (1-888-524-3578). 

Copyright 2011 KSLA-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow