USDA gives state deadline to fix food stamps problems

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The United States Department of Agriculture is threatening to cut funding to North Carolina’s Food Stamp program if big changes are not made soon.

In a letter sent to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Dec. 11, the USDA said more than 20,000 people were waiting to get benefits – 6,000 of them had been waiting more than three months.

“These delays are completely unacceptable and a serious failure on the part of North Carolina,” wrote USDA Regional Administrator Donald Arnette in the letter.

The USDA gave the state 14 days to come up with a plan to fix the problem, and 60 days to implement the plan.

DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos submitted a corrective plan Dec. 23.

However, members of the Black Caucus in Winston-Salem say that isn’t enough. They want to see the Secretary replaced.

“We have a lot of hurting people in the state of North Carolina, and they do not deserve to wait for benefits because of incompetence at the state level,” said Rep. Evelyn Terry, D-Forsyth.

Governor Pat McCrory’s office responded to the USDA letter in a statement Friday.

“This letter is almost a month old, and DHHS has already taken corrective action and continues to work with the USDA on the issues raised. The governor has confidence that Secretary Wos and her team are working hard to ensure that those who need benefits, receive benefits. Another gimmicky press scheme from the extreme left won’t help solve the problem – Governor McCrory embraces solutions, not gimmicks,” said Ryan Tronovitch, Deputy Communications Director.

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