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RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina officials are up against a deadline to finally help people who need food or face the loss of millions of dollars in federal money.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave North Carolina until Monday to process food stamp applications and renewals that have been pending for more than 90 days. The applications are supposed to be processed within 30 days.

The state has struggled for months to process tens of thousands of food stamp applications due to problems with its NC FAST software.

State and county workers have been working against the clock to clear the backlog that was more than 23,000 cases less than three weeks ago.

A N.C. DHHS spokesperson issued the following statement to WFMY News 2:

State and county staff and leadership have put tremendous effort into meeting the federal government's deadline to process applications and recertifications pending over 90 days and expedited applications older than 7 days. Today, the DHHS staff is reaching out to county social services agencies to confirm final numbers and circumstances surrounding any cases that may remain outstanding. Secretary Wos will provide an update to legislative leadership at Tuesday's regularly scheduled Legislative Oversight Committee meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. We will make our report to USDA available at that time.

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