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Problems Cause Benefit Delays, Denials For Low-Income D.C. Residents

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Many District residents are facing long delays in getting public benefits because of administrative problems with Medicaid and Food Stamps, according to a new report.

The report, by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, finds that even though D.C. has a “strong safety net” for low-income residents, many people have experienced challenges while trying to apply for and keep public benefits of late.

These problems include long wait times, inaccurate information and lost applications, and have resulted in families not able to get medical care for their children and domestic violence survivors not been able to pay their hospital bills.

The report makes it clear these aren't problems that can be fixed by one person or one agency; what’s needed is systemic change.

Recommendations include hiring more staff at every level, expanding space at service centers and having materials available in different languages.

Authors say some of the recommendations are being implemented but “more must be done quickly."

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