Retroactive food stamp benefits are coming to some Georgia families because of a federal class action lawsuit against state officials, the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services announced on Monday.
The agency was sued in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in 2014 for not processing applications and renewals for food stamps fast enough. The suit alleged some families were denied benefits as a result.
The case was settled last year, and DFCS agreed to pay the one-time benefits to households across the state who were eligible based on the terms of the settlement.
“This lawsuit will affect 47,760 households, who will receive an average of $463 per household,” the agency announced in a statement.
State officials have sent letters to eligible families, but have also set up ways for families to see if they are affected through the Internet and telephone. They have until Jan. 31 to check their eligibility, however.
One way families can find out if they are eligible is to check their “My COMPASS” account. The other ways are to log onto www.dhs.georgia.gov/office-inspector-general or call 1-855-632-9035 and provide either their Client Identification or Food Stamp Assistance Unit numbers.
The Division of Family and Children Services said in its statement that agency Director Bobby Cagle has made organizational changes to prevent repeats of the issues that led to the lawsuit.
“In August 2015, he implemented the ‘One Caseworker, One Family’ practice model to ensure that families will be able to work with a single caseworker within their community throughout the process of applying for, receiving and/or renewing benefits,” the agency said in the statement.