The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released a statement Tuesday saying it believed the agency “reasonably achieved” a deadline to clear the state’s backlog of pending food stamp cases.
N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos wrote in a letter Tuesday to USDA Regional Director Robin Bailey that the backlog was down to 375 cases, including in Guilford County where a previously unknown backlog of 8,100 cases was discovered last week.
“We have made tremendous efforts to meet the March 31, 2014 deadline and have implemented strategies to ensure that the workload requirements are met and families will receive timely benefits,” Wos wrote.
The state had seen backlog grow to as high as 20,000 to 30,000 food stamp cases with families waiting for weeks and months following the troubled launch last year of a new online-based benefits delivery system called N.C. FAST.
USDA, which oversees the nation’s food stamps, or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) called the delays in North Carolina “unacceptable” and threatened in December and January to rescind $88 million in federal funding if the state didn’t quickly clear the backlog.
Check back with N.C. Policy Watch tomorrow, where we’ll have a more extensive article about the food stamps backlog, new budget concerns and interviews with some affected families.