- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Recent editorials from North Carolina newspapers:

Jan. 27

Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal on state must fix food stamp problem:

The federal government is losing its patience with North Carolina’s administration of the food stamp program, and so should North Carolina’s citizens.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which funds the food stamps, has given the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services until Feb. 10 to significantly reduce waiting lists for food stamp applicants or it will cut off the $88 million it gives the state to administer the program here.

The backlog in processing new applications began last summer. Despite repeated assurances from the DHHS that the problem was being fixed, the problem persists.

On Jan. 21, USDA said, 23,000 households were waiting for the applications to be processed, and 8,327 of those applications had been delayed longer than three months. Federal law requires applications to be processed within 30 days.

DHHS updated the U.S. numbers Thursday, saying there are several thousand fewer applicants waiting, but noting that nearly 9,000 of the applicant families are hardship cases. That means they have almost no money. Federal law requires processing of those applications within seven days.

Gov. Pat McCrory and his DHHS secretary, Aldona Wos, say they are doing all that is possible to fix the problem. They’ve been saying that for months, and it is inadequate.

People are hungry in this state; joblessness is still high. They are among the most desperate of our brothers and sisters. The least the state can do for them is to provide the benefits prescribed by federal law.

After a session in which Republican legislators and McCrory cut taxes for the wealthy, Republicans have denied that they care only about the affluent. But this is one case where the administration’s inability to fix a problem that began on its watch -it can’t blame this on a previous administration - belies that expression of concern.

It is time for the governor to get this problem be fixed. North Carolinians are hungry.




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