"The 12 counties including the cities of Kokomo, Anderson, Muncie and Marion saw food-stamp participation fall 3.5 percent in the 12 months beginning November 2007 after the state took away individual welfare case managers and introduced call centers and the Internet as tools for determining eligibility, said the leaders of senior advocacy organizations and others.
In counties still operating under the old system with case managers for each household, food-stamp participation grew 14.3 percent over the same period.
A spokesman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said the critics' numbers were wrong and that food-stamp participation has increased in modernized counties."
One of the critics, former Vigo County Welfare Director Glenn Cardwell, said the $100 million in lost economic activity figure represented a benchmark because backers of the welfare changes in the Daniels administration have said it would cost the state that much to cancel the IBM-ACS contract.
Cardwell calculated that figure by estimating the economic activity that would have been generated if participation in food stamps and TANF had grown in the modernized counties as they had in counties still under the old system.
FSSA spokesman Marcus Barlow said participation in food stamps has increased in the counties where welfare has been modernized.
"We disagree that people that are eligible for food stamps aren't getting them," Barlow said.
Barlow provided numbers that challenged the critics' without directly contradicting them. The critics said food-stamp participation fell from 13,450 to 7,956 from November 2007 to November 2008. Barlow countered that food-stamp use in all of the 59 modernized counties grew from 111,115 in February 2007 to 112,263 in December 2008.