Pennsylvania backlog on Food Stamp approvals caused by lack of caseworkers and focus on fraud.

                   Already being bashed for the amount of time it takes to process unemployment checks and home-energy assistance claims, Pennsylvania is also lacking in approving Food Stamp applications. It has compelled the Federal Government to order the state to improve its performance. Pennsylvania ranks among the worst in the country in processing Food Stamp applications within 30 days, which is a Federal Law. That is according to Enquirer examination of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA ranks Pennsylvania 39th on a list of 53 that includes the 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Critics say the backlogs are caused by lack of caseworkers and emphasizing fraud prevention. Statistics say that Food Stamp fraud is quite rare. The results of the system being run this way is that families who are in need go withouts benefits they qualify for.

Anne Bale a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Welfare in Pennsylvania acknowledged the problem. She said the DPW, which oversees Pennsylvania’s Food Stamp program is working on a solution. The USDA ordered Pennsylvania to fix the problem in December 2012. She said one reason for the poor performance was the amount of people recieving benefits. There are 1.8 million Pennsylvanians on Food Stamps. The state also rank s 49th in job creation.

Bale blamed the poor performance on program recipients, saying they waited until the last minute to submit paperwork. If you are applying for the program, are the people informed of a time limit to fill out the paperwork. That seems like a cop out, a bad excuse. It seems more likely the delays are caused by the lack of caseworkers and the time spent looking for fraud.

According to USDA figures New York had 3.1 million SNAP program recipients, yet processed 90.94% of its benefits in the proper time frame. Florids has 3.5 million recipients, yet processed 94.01% in the proper time frame. Pennsylvania’s most recent timeliness rating was 81.44%, far below that of other states with far more program recipients. Any state below 90% must devise a plan that brings its timeliness up to 95% according to USDA rules.

The way this program is run is a direct reflection on Governor Tom Corbetts’s attitude about out of work or poor Pennsylvanians. He said they are to lazy and most are on drugs preventing them from improving themselves. Although statistics have show his opinions to be way off base. The Republican party as a whole looks upon those in need with disdain and attempted to cut SNAP benefits by 25% in a recent Farm Bill that Democrats smartly defeated. President Obama and the Democrats realized during the Great Recession that people needed help and provided it. Republicans, who caused the Great Recession could care less. They are focused on manufacturing scandals to impeach President Obama. Shows who cares about the people.

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