State DHHS, Counties Push to Meet USDA Milestone
State and county workers across North Carolina have reduced the backlog of FNS cases (food stamps) by just over 72 percent in the last 10 days, ensuring benefits for thousands of families. As of Monday, February 3, there were a total of 6,742 outstanding FNS applications and recertifications statewide, compared to 23,415 total cases reported on January 23.
"I am extremely proud of the collaboration between our DHHS staff, county DSS agencies, county administrators and the General Assembly to see that families are getting the help they need," said DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos. "We have been pushing toward the February 10 deadline from the federal government, but that is only our first hurdle. Our long-term goal is to help counties plan for sustainable and timely processing as we move forward."
In its January 23, 2014 memo, the USDA mandated that the state eliminate all applications and recertifications pending over 90 days and to complete any expedited applications older than 7 days by February 10. According to today's numbers, approximately 3,587 pending applications and roughly 32 recertifications remain to be processed.
"We currently have more than 100 staff in 11 regional processing centers to support the counties in meeting the imposed deadline," said Wayne Black. "Hundreds of county staff and state personnel worked over the weekend and even during last week's snow storm. This is a team effort and we all have a vital role to play."
As of Monday morning, 55 counties had 10 or fewer pending untimely new applications. Other county highlights include:
- Mecklenburg County has reduced outstanding cases by 97 percent, to just 52 total pending untimely applications from 1,656 on January 23.
- Guilford County reduced outstanding cases by 85 percent, to just 159 pending untimely applications down from 1,078 on January 23.
- Buncombe County saw a 99 percent reduction in untimely applications, with only one case outstanding as of February 3.