Federal agency satisfied with food stamp backlog progress

Posted February 14, 2014

— Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday that they are satisfied with North Carolina health agency's progress toward reducing a once-massive backlog of food stamp cases.

In a letter to the state Department of Health and Human Services, the USDA noted the state had made "significant strides" toward providing benefits to waiting North Carolina residents. Although the backlog persisted for months, with thousands of families waiting four months or more, state and county workers concentrated their efforts in late January to process the majority of cases in about two weeks.

That was after the USDA, following weeks of warnings, told the state it must largely eliminate the backlog by Feb. 10 or risk losing $88 million in administrative food stamp funding.

"The quick resolution of this backlog will position the State to ensure that effective measures are in place for counties to process all new applications and recertifications in accordance with the Federal timeframes and prevent future backlogs," USDA Regional Administrator Robin Bailey wrote Friday.

Numbers provided by the state Tuesday showed that 1,254 cases remain in the backlog, compared to about 35,000 on Dec. 31. DHHS officials have not released updated numbers.

As DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos told legislators Tuesday, the Feb. 10 deadline is only the first hurdle as it continues to act on a corrective action plan submitted to the USDA. By March 31, state and county workers must clear the remaining delayed cases and implement other changes or again risk losing funding.

"We are pleased by the federal government's response to the outstanding work performed by state and county social services staff to address this issue," DHHS Deputy Secretary Sherry Bradsher said in a press release Friday afternoon. "We will continue to work with our county partners to satisfy federal processing requirements. It has always been our goal to provide quality services and timely benefits to the families we serve."


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • notexactly Feb 18, 2014

    t watts

    Um good question. I will be the first to agree with why it took so long. But 4 months, is pretty good considering how long the Obama admin had with the ACA and it still has some major issues. Talk about the huge waste of money.. And it still is going on.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 17, 2014

    Food stamps should not exist. This is theft and a form of slavery.

  • glarg Feb 17, 2014

    "Feds Satisfied- WRAL Hit Hardest"

  • Terry Watts Feb 17, 2014

    So after 4 months or more of FAILURE, DHHS was able to accomplish their appointed task in only two weeks??? What were they doing for the other first four months??? Wasting tax-payer money I'd guess... Good Job McCrony!