DHHS: Progress made with Nebraska public benefits program

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A Nebraska state agency says it has improved how quickly it processes applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after it failed to meet federal standards last year.

The federal government reviewed a sample of applications and found that the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services processed nearly 92 percent in a timely manner between April and September. That's up from nearly 63 percent in early 2014.

The federal government informed the department in January 2015 that its processing rate needed to be at least 85 percent, accounting for margins of error. The most recent average processing rate nationally was nearly 90 percent.

The program is now ranked 27th nationally.

Courtney Phillips, the department's CEO, says the department will continue to make improvements.