State says food stamp delays to last until March - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

State says food stamp delays to last until March

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Danielle Hull tries to keep cheerful. "Here's a ham sandwich!" she says. "Ham and cheese."

But she only makes her sandwich with one piece of bread so the loaf will last longer.

"I'll eat this all day," she says. All day, because that's about all she has. 

Danielle lives with Kellie Starr and Starr's family, including five children. Today, they showed us the contents of their refrigerator.

"We got hot dogs and ham and cheese," Starr says. "But it's not a lot."

Starr is on disability and qualifies for food stamps, but she hasn't received them since November.

"When my kids are crying at night because they don't have anything to eat and they're used to having meals cooked, and we can only fix ham and cheese sandwiches and hot dogs, it's really not enough. It's not. And it's not fair," Starr says with tears in her eyes. "It's really not fair.

This is a snapshot of what's happening in houses all over North Carolina, where about 20,000 families have been waiting more than two months to get food stamps. This week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos said she's sorry, but that the delays will last for another two months.

"I just really want someone to fix that problem because I don't like to see the kids crying," Hull says.

The issue stems around an online system Wos and her department introduced last year called NC FAST. Counties use it for food stamp applications, and most recently for Medicaid too - the delays with food stamps started when the state began working Medicaid applications into the system in October.

"They keep blaming it on the new system that they got," says Starr. "Ok, well if the system don't work they need to change it."

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