HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -
State officials say that food stamp enrollment dropped since changes to the enrollment process were implemented back in July. According to a recent report from the St Louis Post-Dispatch, food stamp enrollment recently dropped by over 3% in recent months.
The drop seems to be caused by the removal of face to face contact in the enrollment process. State officials made changes expecting it to be more efficient, but reports say missed calls and lost paperwork have made it harder. One local resident said these changes, along with the food stamp budget cuts, made her make some changes.
"Even with my family, I have adult children and they are having some difficult times," Vivian Hawkins said. "So what they do also is we try to get food from local food banks along with some of the food we have from our food stamps. We mix all of that together then we can pay our light, gas, water."
Hawkins said that the changes may not seem bad, but they can really take effect when you look at other expenses that may be needed.
NECAC Coordinator for Ralls County Wendy Ellison said though there has been a drop, she does not think it will continue to be this way.
"Since July, a lot of the staff have been let go," Ellison said. "It's been more automated, more phone calls, and more paper applications. I think it's a growing pain that the clients will have to grow with."
Ellison said to make sure you are focusing on the necessities during the holiday period and not the wants. She said Christmas can be small if it means making sure your electricity, heat, and food are being paid for.
Ellison said since it moved to being more automated, many residents are missing the phone calls to confirm their benefits. Residents only have 30 days to get the enrollment confirmed before they get automatically denied.