by: The Associated Press Updated:RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)strong>
(AP) — The federal government is satisfied that North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services has met the final deadline to whittle down its backlog of food stamp applications at local social service offices.
A U.S. Agriculture Department regulator wrote DHHS Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos (vahsh) Tuesday and said her agency had met the requirements to reduce its backlog by March 31.
USDA had threatened the state with losing $88 million to administer the program. Several thousand cases still were behind schedule a week before the deadline.
Regional administrator Robin Bailey said the state had "made significant strides" involving households experiencing delays to obtain or renew food stamps. Bailey still wants weekly reports for at least the next two months.
An intermediate deadline was also met in early February.
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