ATLANTA- In August 2015, the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) implemented a new practice model to process benefits. The “One Caseworker, One Family” model emphasizes families having continuity in caseworkers at the local level to deliver services in a more personalized and timely manner. It also enables local offices to focus on a family’s needs and to be accountable for the customer service they receive from start to finish.

In its continuing effort to improve the timeliness of service delivery, and to align with the One Caseworker, One Family model, DFCS is directing new food stamp applicants to apply for benefits at DFCS offices within their own communities.

The decision to remove the online application option, effective Monday, March 7, 2016, is aimed at ensuring that each application receives the individual attention needed to process requests quickly so that eligible individuals and families can obtain benefits without delay. The food stamp program, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federally-funded program that provides monthly benefits to low-income households to assist with food costs.

When applicants work with their local DFCS offices, staff members are able to help customers complete applications correctly, interview them or schedule an appointment when necessary.

“This leads to increased timeliness, improved accuracy and enhanced customer experiences,” said Jon Anderson, DFCS Deputy Director, Office of Family Independence.

While new applicants must work with local offices, either in person or by mailing in their applications, existing customers may continue to utilize online services to complete SNAP renewals, report changes and access their benefit information.

Local DFCS offices have been preparing for the increase in SNAP paper applications, and online application registration staff are being re-directed to assist with the processing of paper applications.

“We feel we are ready for this change, which is greatly needed to meet our service delivery goals” said Anderson.