Backlogs reported in Department of Human Services

HONOLULU (AP) - State workers have told legislators that backlogs of welfare, food stamp and medical applications need to be solved.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program statewide administrator Linda Tsark said Monday that only 80 percent of food stamp applications are processed in a timely manner.

That's down from 90 percent before the economic downturn.

Federal guidelines mandate a 95 percent timeliness rate.

The Hawaii Government Employees Association is blaming the backlogs on reduced staffing at the Department of Human Services.

It laid off 366 people last year, but the department says the backlogs predate the layoffs.

Department Director Lillian Koller has told lawmakers backlog problems are being addressed.

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