CHICAGO (CBS) — You’ve heard of people on unemployment struggling to get benefits. Now a South Side woman says the state’s botching another kind of taxpayer-funded aid: cash assistance for families in poverty.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas is pressing the Illinois Department of Human Services for answers.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Frost Advisory Along And North Of I-88
For Crystal Rodriguez, every dollar counts – from bus money to laundry detergent. The mom of two says the pandemic’s made her finances even tighter.
“It’s real. This is real,” she said. “When somebody is expecting a certain amount of money to come on a certain day, and it doesn’t come, it’s devastating.”
The money she was expecting is from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
She applied and was approved back in November, and received nearly $1,000 for December and January.
But then – despite the stamp of approval from the state – the funds stopped in February.
“They said there was a glitch in the system,” Rodriguez said. “Everybody says it’s somebody else’s fault. It’s the local office’s fault. It’s the tech department’s fault. It’s everybody’s fault.”
Oddly enough, one letter from the state said Rodriguez was approved for $655 a month from February 2021 to February 2020; that’s a year in reverse.READ MORE: Plan For High-Rise Development Has Some Oak Park Residents Fired Up
She’s not sure if that error might have anything to do with the holdup.
“It affects my family. People need to be able to buy things; toilet paper, and things for laundry so you could have clean clothes,” she said.
Whatever the problem is, she’s hoping for a solution soon.
After we started asking questions, Rodriguez says the state suddenly called her to say the issue was fixed and the money is on the way.
We asked the the Department of Human Services: what caused the issue. They said they can’t comment on individual cases but they did send a statement:
“IDHS cannot comment on specific households or individuals who receive benefits from our agency. This case has been resolved by our team and someone from our team has communicated with this individual.
“IDHS provides cash, medical assistance, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to over 3.3 million residents in Illinois through an integrated eligibility system (IES). If there are errors encountered in the computer system by case worker staff while benefits are being processed, the case is sent to our IES Functional Assistance and Support Team (IFAST) team for review.
“This team assists workers in resolving errors and ensures any system defects are recorded and reported to be addressed.MORE NEWS: ONLY ON 2: Mother Speaks After 7-Year-Old Griffith, Indiana Boy Was Run Over By Car; He Remains Hospitalized
“Additionally, IDHS can and does manually intervene to issue benefits to eligible families if ever there is a system issue. Each household is reviewed on a case-by-case basis when this occurs.”