Gaston County's Department of Social Services says people who are due to get their food-stamp benefits renewed may have to wait two or three weeks to get their money.
The delay is because the county has been switching over to a new benefit system called NC Fast, which will eventually bring all benefits -- including food stamps and Medicaid -- into a single computerized database.
DSS staffers have been working overtime to enter information into the new program but the process has created a backlog.
"I actually have to spend my own money to buy something to eat every day ... when I could be buying Pampers for him," said Danielle Hoskey, who was at DSS Tuesday with her 1-month old son. Hoskey said she was told she would have to wait until April before her EBT -- electronic benefits transfer -- card is reloaded with cash.
"That's right, there's no money on that card until it's loaded," said DSS Director Keith Moon. Moon said the delay is because staffers have to reload all of the information of clients who are up for renewal of their benefits, and the process has taken up the time of staffers plus four temporary workers.
"We're a service agency and we take those difficulties very seriously," Moon said.
Gaston County DSS has referred people who are waiting for the benefits to various help agencies in the county. Salvation Army officials told Eyewitness News that they have been flooded with calls for help over the last few weeks because of the delays.