RALEIGH, N.C. -- It's still much of a waiting game for thousands of people and families in need of food stamps in North Carolina.
But state leaders are making a small dent in the number of applications its handling statewide. According to the NCDHHS and NC FAST, as of Thursday the state still needs to process 23,415 Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) applications and recertifications that are pending statewide. That's compared to January 14, 2014 when there were a total of 32,997 FNS applications and recertifications pending statewide.
Out of the total that's left the following number of applications are considered untimely:
- New Regular Applications: 11,011
- Expedited Applications: 8,963
- Recertifications: 3,441
Federal regulators have warned the state's health agency to address problems within its computer system to process the food stamp applications. Federal regulators say the state will face monetary consequences if it doesn't come through soon. The state expects to catch up on the backlog by the end of March. Letters include the USDA Follow Up to Advance Warning and also a letter to DSS county directors.
In response to those letters a statement from the N.C. Association of County Directors of Social Services is below along with a statement about the background information on NC FAST.
"We strongly disagree with the federal government's threat to withhold Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administrative funds, which could adversely impact counties' abilities to assist families in need. However, we are encouraged by positive conversations between Governor McCrory, Secretary Wos and the U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack that resulted in a verbal agreement of our plan to clear up outstanding FNS applications and recertifications. We will continue working closely with our partners in county government to solve this problem."
-Sherry Bradsher, Deputy Secretary for Human Services
"The latest USDA letter poses a significant challenge to the county DSS offices. The Directors Association met with DHHS leadership today, and we have a multi-faceted plan to meet the February 10 and March 31 deadlines. We appreciate DHHS' commitment to working with the counties to meet these federal deadlines."
- John Eller, Vice President of the N.C. Association of County Directors of Social Services
READ: Guilford DSS Adds Resources for Food Stamp Issues
READ: State Help With Food Stamp Backlog Costs $19K Per Day
READ: NCDHHS Leaders To Face State Lawmakers Again
WFMY News 2/NCDHHS