The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is under a deadline.
Just Thursday, we told you about the problems temporary workers hired last year caused. We found 40 percent of the food stamp applications processed in Forsyth and Alamance counties had errors.
Now, the state is focused on February 10th. That's the deadline issued by the US Department of Agriculture for the DHHS to get their act together.
Earlier this week, the backlog was more than 7,500 households. And the USDA said if DHHS didn't clear it by February 10th, they could lose their funding from the government!
So this week the state set up 11 food nutrition service processing centers across the state. They were staffed with staff from the DHHS offices based on each county's need. There are 18 staffers in Forsyth County, 17 in Guilford, 6 in Alamance, and 6 in Orange. But they may need even more help!
Last night, our news partners at WRAL reported state House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam's office sent a message encouraging the General Assembly's legislative assistants to volunteer to help clear the backlog.
Will the volunteers help or hurt? As in the case of the temporary workers, we'll see. We'll be sure to keep an eye on that February 10th deadline and let you know what happens.