Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services say they have met a federal deadline as of yesterday to clear its backlog of food stamp applications. Earlier this year, the US Department of Agriculture threatened to pull 88 million dollars in funding if deadlines were not met.
Sherri Bradsher is the deputy secretary for human services at DHHS. She says the number of households that still need food stamps fall within the USDA's parameters of meeting the deadline.
"Right now today in our state, we have 375 households that have applications or recertifications that are pending beyond the time frame that USDA sets as a standard," Bradsher says.
The accounts are being managed with the new computer system that processes benefits called NC Fast. She says DHHS workers increasing familiarity with the system is helping knock down the backlog.
"We went into this because we wanted to create a better system to serve families and children across our state," Bradsher said. "And we are well on our way to getting there. This system will allow workers to have better tools available to them and will result in a more timely and more customer friendly approach to serving the people in our state."
The 375 applications still to be considered is thought by the USDA to be a relatively small number.