NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The director of New Hanover County's Department of Social Services said he hasn't received a complaint about food stamps in weeks, but families continue to contact WECT.com about a delay in service.
Since WECT.com first reported on some families experiencing a longer wait than normal, DSS has made a few changes to its service.
Roughly 32 case workers handle the paperwork for more than 16,000 families on food stamps in New Hanover County. Those employees are working overtime these days, according to Assistant Director for Economic Maintenance Christine McNamee. She said a group of about 40 employees are working Saturdays in February and March.
Staff estimated the overtime cost at $4,500 per Saturday. McNamee clarified that the federal government covers half the pay for food nutrition specialists, and the department expected and budgeted for some overtime.
Other employees have been trained on data entry to help with the NC Fast transition, according to McNamee. She said the learning curve has been bigger than expected, but she sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
"This is kind of unusual for us and uncomfortable for us," McNamee said. "We're hoping in the next several months to get back on track and get back to the timely, accurate service that New Hanover County citizens are used to seeing from us."
NC Fast is a statewide system. McNamee mentioned more changes at the state level that are improving the transition of the new system.
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