Food stamps backlog plunges

Posted February 5, 2014

Explore the graphic above to see how the food stamp backlog has changed since the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its warning. The bottom portion includes the majority of pending applications and recertifications the USDA wants eliminated by Feb. 10. Data will be updated as updates are received.

 With a federal deadline only five days away, county and state social services staff have worked overtime to reduce the majority of their massive backlog of food stamps cases.

NC Fast system Progress continues toward cutting food stamps backlog

The number of pending cases grew for weeks across the state, even after the U.S. Department of Agriculture threatened that it could suspend $88 million in administrative funding for the food stamps program if problems weren't corrected.

The logjam hit a high mark in late December, with almost 35,000 total cases. But after a substantial drop state officials largely attributed to duplicate cases stuck in its new NC FAST enrollment system, the number of cases plateaued.

On Jan. 23, however, the USDA issued an ultimatum: If the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services didn't clear the majority of its backlog by Feb. 10, the federal agency could pull funding as soon as March 12.

Aldona Wos, Secretary of Health and Human Services USDA issues more warnings to state health agency

To demonstrate what the USDA called "significant" progress, the state must eliminate emergency applications as well as applications and recertifications that have been pending for 90 days or more.

Days after the federal agency's edict, DHHS began setting up 11 "processing centers" across the state to help county workers process cases.

Since that time, workers have reduced the USDA-required portion of the backlog by nearly half after working overtime, on weekends and with volunteer help from legislative aides.


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  • Rebelyell55 Feb 7, 2014

    Ok we've heard the short term for a while now, but what is the long term solution?

  • davido Feb 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    ... and threatened.

  • ccsmith1902 Feb 6, 2014

    View quoted thread

    McCrory did not put the right people in charge, that is why we had the backlog!

  • Justic4All Feb 6, 2014

    Amazing what can happen when a little pressure is applied. I wonder how many jobs were on the line to get the numbers down? Doesn't really matter as long as the results keep coming. Gov McCrory put the right people in charge. Ones that know how to get things done. BIG Thumbs Up!

  • unc70 Feb 6, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Probably lots if reasons. Wake is the biggest county by population, roughly 10% of the entire state. From the news stories the last two years, Wake County Commissioners seemed intent on doing the wrong thing. For political reasons, they seemed more interested in cutting staff and fighting with the school board than in doing their own jobs, including funding required services. A tiny county can catch up using a couple of staff for a population under 20,000; Wake has a population of about one million and requires a lot more effort.

  • archmaker Feb 6, 2014

    backlog plunges - amazing what government can do when properly staffed.

  • cushioncritter Feb 6, 2014

    It should be noted that NC FAST was procured in Dec. 2008 from Cúram Software International Private Limited (Bangalore, India), which is now a part of IBM. For a time IBM did not provide software solutions to the federal government (1994-2006), selling off its "Federal Systems Division" in 1994 after being unable to deliver a replacement air traffic control system, so on 9-11-2001 an ancient air traffic control system was still running on prehistoric "mainframes" that were less powerful than today's smartphones.

    Java software written in Bangalore has the ability to use almost infinite computing CPU power, which stimulates hardware sales. The inefficient coding is unfortunately accompanied with many bugs that cause "glitches".

  • Wheelman Feb 6, 2014

    A new buggy computer system put in place by the prior administration, under funded resources by both state and counties and a near doubling of food stamp applicants all contributed to this problem. The biggest one being the new computer system. I am yet to understand how these system developers get away with the lousy systems they program and put in place. And, they still get paid and awarded new contracts for other projects. Any new software is going to have some bugs in it, but when it comes to these taxpayer funded projects it's often ridiculous.

  • HanginTough Feb 6, 2014

    OMG shut down the whole thing...I am about sick of seeing a fat slow moving person in line w a FLAG CARD. They got more groceries in their cart than I am able to buy in a month and a handful of snotty nosed kids running around acting like animals...no job no help no social no money - it's about time the govt started started verifying addresses number of people in a household and illegal or not illegal...of course the liberals gotta make sure they vote is bought and paid for w free food and other subsidies...I am tired of working for someone else to reap the benefits and CONTRIBUTE nothing~

  • lawdawg302 Feb 6, 2014

    I am so sorry some people had to wait a little longer for my money. All of this angst because people are not receiving their hand outs fast enough? I look at my tax bill, and could not care less; my money is not being redistributed at a pace those who did not do the work find acceptable.