Applicants For State Benefits Facing Delays In Processing

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Vermont has been working to make it easier for people to
apply for economic benefits, like food stamps, health insurance and housing
assistance. There is a new central call center, set up so anyone who answers
the phone can access records and answer questions. Applications can now be done
on the web. And documents that are mailed in are now quickly scanned and
entered into a digital database that can be accessed from anywhere in the


But despite the efforts to improve the system, for the last few months, there has been a growing backlog of benefit
applications, keeping many people waiting much longer than state and
federally-mandated 30 day period for their applications to be processed. We talk to Steve Dale, the
Commissioner for the Department of Children and Families and Christopher
Curtis, an attorney with the poverty law project at Vermont Legal Aid about
what’s causing the delays, and what’s being done to address them.

Also on the program, the
number of people incarcerated in Vermont is on the decline. We talk with Corrections
Commissioner Andy Pallito, who says the Vermont has more than 200 fewer inmates over last year.

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