North Carolina’s food stamps program continues to face major problems in how it operates and monitors federal funds for low-income families struggling to get food on their tables, according to a recent report by federal officials.
A strongly worded management evaluation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program listed more than 38 faults with North Carolina’s system, ranging from “critical findings” regarding a lack of oversight at the state level to regulatory violations about what is included on applications for food assistance.
“There are critical findings in the Claims/TOP area that are related to a lack of State oversight and monitoring,” read one finding in the 19-page report. (Scroll down to read the report itself.)
The major findings also included a “lack of State oversight in Recipient Integrity” that led to instances of potential fraud not being referred to for prosecution and “serious findings” in the state’s employment and training program.
The Sept. 10 management evaluation rested on visits that officials from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service office made in May and June where operations were observed at the state level, as well as in social services offices in Guilford, Pitt and Wake counties.
It requires DHHS to provide a corrective action plan within the next 60 days.
The report came on the heels of a major breakdwon in North Carolina’s food stamps delivery system last year that left thousands of low-income families without access to food assistance for weeks or months. The problems were attributed to glitches in a new technology system, N.C. FAST (Families Assessing Services through Technology) and issues that county-level workers had in accessing the new system while struggling under heavy caseloads.