HONOLULU (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Hawaii more than $660,000 for expediting its review of applications for the federal food stamp program.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the state Department of Human Services has come a long way from 2010, when only 29 percent of applications were processed within the 30 days required by federal rules. In fiscal 2014, the department raised that figure to 94 percent.
Hawaii is currently ranked among the top six states for its timely filing of SNAP applications. But the state still struggles with its participation rates.
USDA statistics from 2012, which are the most recent available, show that only two-thirds of Hawaii residents eligible for the program receive SNAP.
State officials say DHS has since made major improvements, like making the application more accessible, to increase participation.