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ATLANTA -- Georgia residents who receive food stamps have been frustrated by problems in a statewide phone call-in system. They say it often blocks their attempts to apply for benefits or renew them.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that callers can be on hold for hours.

Documents obtained by the newspaper show that hundreds of thousands of calls go unanswered every month.

David Super, a Georgetown law professor who has studied the Georgia food stamp program for years, says that problems with the call-in center have "severely undermined" the entire system.

State officials acknowledged long wait times, but said phone issues shouldn't prevent people from getting services.

La Shanda Brown, a Division of Family and Children Services planner who helps manage the line, describes the problems as "hiccups."

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