GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina's food banks are struggling to serve huge numbers of hungry people as problems with a new state computer system have delayed processing of food stamp applications, often by months.
The state Department of Health and Human Services launched NC FAST earlier this year, a $300 million computer system that was supposed to streamline applying for government assistance. Food bank volunteers quip it should instead be called "NC FASTing."
Under federal rules, food stamp applications are supposed to be processed within 30 days. In Wake County, the average wait for benefits is now 90 days. Many wait far longer.
State social services director Wayne Black says most of the glitches started with a July 15 software update. He says the state is making good progress in fixing the system.
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