County admits glitch left Charlotte family without food stamps

County admits glitch left Charlotte family without food stamps

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 6:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 8:00 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NBC Charlotte asks questions that lead to change.

Mecklenburg County has discovered a glitch in its food stamp distribution system. It's all thanks to a story we brought you first about a single mother of four who was facing dramatic cuts in her food stamps.

We first met Sara Grier and her four kids last week at lunchtime. The kids had the day off from school. Eleven-year-old India told us, “Since this happened, the amount of food we get has gone down but we still get fed, and I'm happy for that.” 

The single mom came to us for help after she got a letter from the county saying her food stamps had been cut from $500 a month to $16. She was desperately trying to stretch everything in their pantry.

We started asking questions and got Grier's DSS counselor to finally call her back.

“She told me this was a mistake. There was a glitch in the system,” Grier says.

That's right, Rodney Adams, the Economic Division Director for Mecklenburg County's DSS told NBC Charlotte-- there was a mistake with the food stamp program.

“There have been several different types of glitches with the NC FAST system since the inception,” he told us by phone. He says there have been problems for several months now.

Not only has Grier received multiple incorrect letters from DSS but she didn't get any food stamps at all in the month of October.

“I never let them go to bed hungry, but I sure did a couple of nights,” she admitted.

She finally got that payment this week - after we got involved.

“So I'm still confused as to what's going on, but I do know that now I can feed the kids.”

Adams said, “Outside of you contacting us, Michelle, we didn’t know that Ms. Grier had a problem with her case. Do you have any idea if there are more people out there like her? In terms of receiving errant notices? Some may receive errant notices, yes, and this is the system glitch that the state is aware of.”

Sara worries there are other families going hungry.

“They won’t know to call. Everybody doesn't know to use their voice. I usually don’t use my voice but when it comes to my kids, I had to do something.”

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