The United States Department of Agriculture says Maine is the slowest state in the country at processing applications for food stamps.
Officials with the USDA sent a letter to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on Dec. 7 that says data for the first six months of this year show the state's processing timeliness rating was about 69 percent. It says 95 percent is acceptable.
The letter says Maine's "poor timeliness" negatively affects residents who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It also says Maine was ranked 36 out of 53 state agencies with a rate of about 84 percent in fiscal 2014.
The state health department didn't immediately return a request for comment.