Just a week after North Carolina's health secretary said it would be difficult to erase a backlog of outstanding food stamp applications by the end of the month, she now says it's possible.
Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos said Wednesday the backlog is just over 1,000 cases, down from about 1,700 a week ago. She says she expects to meet the March 31st deadline set by federal regulators.
The state already met a Feb. 10 deadline to handle more than 20,000 applications and renewals pending for more than 90 days.
The U.S. Agriculture Department had threatened the loss of $88 million to continue administering the program unless the deadline was met.
It still must resolve applications older than 30 days and emergency requests for assistance older than seven days.