A backlog of applications at Springfield’s office of the Missouri Department of Social Services means many families don't have access to the food stamps they depend on.
Christopher Bell and his family are waiting outside the Missouri Department of Social Services in Springfield, trying to get their food stamps.
"Its ridiculous,” he says. “People shouldn't have to go through this, especially families with young children."
Bell, his girlfriend, and their two-month-old baby girl need the assistance because Bell can only find part time work and he needs help supporting his family.
“If I didn't have a baby right now then I wouldn't even be up here right now messing with them. I can go hungry, ‘cause in my opinion it's not even worth it, but I'm not going to let my daughter starve because of my opinion,” says Bell.
Although they re-applied for food stamps last month, Bells family is back today to re-apply again. A spokesperson for the Department of Social Services told KY3 in an e-mail that the computer that processes the food stamp applications had a problem.
Bell says the problem resulted in his food stamps being cancelled, so they have to apply again and wait for an interview to make sure they still qualify.
They're not the only ones affected.
"You know what are we supposed to do in that time frame of us waiting? Starve to death?" asks Marquan Brown, who says since he left the Air Force he’s had difficulty finding work and hasn’t received his unemployment or food stamp benefits yet.
So Chris and his family just keep waiting, hoping eventually they'll get the help they need until he can find a full-time job.
The spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Social Services says that the computer that was causing the backlog has been fixed and that they are now working as quickly as possible to process all the backlogged applications and reduce the processing time back to under 30 days. The spokesperson said the processing time has been up to 50 days because of the backlog.
The department of social services says if you have a complaint you can contact the Family Support Division's special unit dedicated to resolving these problems by calling 1-573-751-8959 or e-mailing FSD.CRU@dss.mo.gov