Fewer than 200 cases remain in food stamp backlog
Posted February 8
Raleigh, N.C. — State and county health officials say they are on track to meet a federal deadline to clear out a longstanding backlog of food stamp cases that put millions of dollars of funding at risk.
Data released Saturday by the state Department of Health and Human Services show the state needs to resolve fewer than 200 cases to meet its Feb. 10 mandate. If the deadline is not met the U.S. Department of Agriculture told the state it could lose $88 million in administrative funding for the food stamp program.
Workers across the state were called to work Saturday to process applications and recertifications pending over 90 days and expedited applications older than one week.
When asked by WRAL News why it took the department so long to get the backlog under control, Division of Social Services Director Wayne Black said they had setbacks from an NC FAST software glitch in July and the addition of a Medicaid component in October, which created more work for case managers.
In Wake County, which has carried the largest share of the backlog, the total number of remaining cases as of Friday morning stood at more than 150. County officials say that, by the end of the day, there will be fewer than 60 cases to process before Monday's deadline.
But those final 60 are likely to be the most complicated, according to Wake County spokeswoman Sarah Williamson-Baker. Some have been delayed by technical problems with the NC FAST system, while others can't be processed without additional information from clients.