County officials officially responded in a May 28 letter to a federal review of their food stamps process released in April. The feds took a snapshot but didn’t leave enough leeway for the county as it transitioned to a new way of doing things, the county’sresponse said.
The federal review by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees food stamps, criticized the county’s implementation last year of its new system for processing food stamps applications. The USDA said San Diego County families needing services in the meantime were negatively impacted by “cumbersome processes” and other problems.
When the review was released, the county responded that the federal reviewers had captured a snapshot of an evolving process — unfairly in some places. The county is continuing to improve the system for processing food stamps applications, said Dale Fleming, a top county Health and Human Services Agency official.
This official response expands on that, challenging USDA findings of inefficiencies in pieces of the application process like wait times and filing. The county reiterates the system-in-flux argument and pledges to fix and re-educate workers on other parts of the program — especially in regards to the civil rights training the feds found to be lacking in the county’s workforce. You can read the full county response (accompanied by a letter from the state social services agency) here.
— KELLY BENNETT