Unseen victims

Today’s lead editorial in The Baltimore Sun follows up on Acting Chief Counsel Peter Sabonis‘ Feb. 13 op-ed (“Who’ll be there to help?“) about the eight-year hiring freeze at the Maryland Department of Human Resources and its potential impact on getting federal stimulus funding to the people who need it the most–poor Marylanders.

“At the state Department of Human Resources . . . waiting lines are longer, caseworkers are stretched to the limit and many people end up being denied benefits because there simply aren’t enough staff members to process all the claims coming in,” the editorial says. “The agency is responsible for the food stamp program; cash assistance to the elderly, indigent and disabled; and child protective services. But under a statewide hiring freeze that began eight years ago, DHR has lost hundreds of staff positions, leaving the remaining workers unable to carry out all the duties assigned to them.

“Legal Aid attorneys who advocate on behalf of the poor say offices in Towson and the city that once had 20 clerical workers distributing food stamps now have 10 or less, and instead of 50 clients per caseworker, staffers have to deal with 200 or more. DHR officials aren’t disputing that reality,” the editorial continues.

To read the editorial, click here.

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