Local food bank assisting those in limbo over SNAP benefits

Posted at 8:11 PM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 20:16:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- One week after CBS 6 Problem Solvers profiled a Richmond single mother having trouble accessing her SNAP benefits, more viewers have come forward saying they are having similar issues.

Disabled Army veteran Charles Vinson Jr., is among those recipients in limbo.

"I don't have access to a paycheck to buy food during the week," said Vinson.

Charles Vinson Jr.

Charles Vinson Jr.

Vinson is on a fixed income and says he had to re-apply for benefits after separating from his wife.

"It's a long waiting list and not telling me how long I got to wait... It's frustrating because my refrigerator is empty now," said Vinson.

He said because of his limited income it’s tough to make ends meet.

During our previous investigation, the Richmond Department of Social Services suggested anyone waiting on SNAP benefits to contact FeedMore.

Vinson said that city officials also urged him to contact the food bank for help.


Organizers at FeedMore tell CBS 6 they've recently fielded an unusual amount of calls from people having issues with their SNAP benefits.

"It is unusual, we usually don't get them where they're delayed," said FeedMore CEO Norm Gold.

Gold said they generally assist clients when their benefits have stopped or have been discontinued.

"We're here either way and we've got agencies on call,” said Gold. “So, our volunteers and our staff will contact the agencies, and find agencies in the zip code where the person lives."

While that's good for SNAP benefit clients like Charles Vinson, he said he shouldn't have to worry about his next meal.

"I shouldn't have to deal with this,” he said. “Nobody should have to deal with this.”

CBS 6 contacted the Richmond Department Social Services for an update on residents still waiting on SNAP benefits.

They sent us a statement that read:

“The Richmond Department of Social Services (RDSS) serves almost 22,000 SNAP recipients. Since the CBS 6 story aired last week, the agency has received less than .2% in calls regarding these benefits. Calls have ranged from inquiries on the status of applications, identifying their case workers, to the timeliness of the benefits being applied to their case.

“The majority of cases prompting the termination of SNAP benefits are in those circumstances where applications for renewal are not received timely. SNAP applications are processed weekly and within 10 days of receipt. A referral to the Central VA Food Bank may be made for resources in the interim. Under those limited circumstances that application processing is delayed through RDSS error, upon notification they are processed immediately, with the expectation that benefits will be applied within 24 hours for those eligible. Any city resident who has questions or concerns regarding their SNAP benefits, should contact RDSS immediately at (804) 646-6875.”

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