Missouri Department of Social Services | KCUR

Missouri Department of Social Services

State Auditor Nicole Galloway says Missouri appears to be wasting millions of dollars through misuse of its food assistance program.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, was formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. It helps low-income Missourians get food at grocery stores by using a state-funded electronic card.

Missouri Department of Social Services screenshot

People who work with federal food-aid recipients in Missouri and recipients themselves have said the state’s hotline is slow to answer phone calls. State data shows that at times, callers have had to wait up to an hour to talk to someone and that in May 2017, almost a quarter of callers abandoned getting through.

Missouri’s Family Services Division started addressing those concerns in April and said it expects to have new software in place by July to make the call center more efficient and start the food-stamp interview process more quickly.

The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) has again come under the microscope of an interim legislative committee looking into whether state agencies are operating efficiently.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, has created another interim committee, this time to examine how well state agencies respond to citizens who use their services.

The Interim Committee on Improving Government Responsiveness and Efficiency's first priority will be looking into the Department of Social Services.  The committee will be chaired by State Representative Sue Allen, a Republican from Town and County.  Allen also chairs the subcommittee that writes the budgets for DSS and for the departments of Health and Senior Services and Mental Health.