(Philadelphia) -- The federal government has ordered Pennsylvania to speed up processing of food stamp applications.
The Philadelphia Inquirer says its examination of U.S. Department of Agriculture data indicates that the commonwealth ranks among the worst in the nation for getting food stamps to the needy within 30 days, as required by federal law.
The department ranks Pennsylvania 39th on a list of 53 that includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Critics accuse the commonwealth of scrimping on caseworkers and emphasizing fraud prevention although food stamp fraud is rare.
Anne Bale of the state Department of Public Welfare says the department is working on a plan to improve timeliness, as the federal government ordered in December.
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