NC again told to step up approvals for food stamp benefits

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is again warning North Carolina it could lose federal money if food stamp applications aren’t approved faster.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports a letter Thursday sought an improvement plan in 30 days.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services says her agency’s numbers show the state is doing better than the federal government reports. Kendra Gerlach says the agency will try to clear up discrepancies.

The letter marks the latest warning.

Last year, the state agency and county offices worked to reduce a backlog of more than 30,000 applications amid the federal government’s threat to stop sending about $88 million a year in administrative costs.

North Carolina was among the nation’s worst for timely application approvals in 2013.

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