USDA Awards States for Best Nutrition Program Management

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA will award $30 million to selected states for their excellence in administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009. The national average level of program payment accuracy for FY 2009 is 95.64%, the sixth consecutive year the program has achieved a historically high rate. For the second straight year, the national negative error rate (a measure of denials, terminations and suspensions) also improved.

"Program integrity is critical as participation in SNAP continues to grow to meet the nutrition needs of the most vulnerable Americans, and these results deliver on President Obama's directive to decrease improper payments and protect taxpayer dollars," said Secretary Vilsack. "We are improving the accuracy and efficiency of program delivery while working to deliver on Obama administration efforts to reduce hunger and improve nutrition for people across the country."

Under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, each state agency is responsible for monitoring and improving its administration of SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. The SNAP quality control system determines the accuracy of the eligibility decision and the benefits authorized.

Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services said SNAP benefits are essential to the nutrition and well-being of one in eight people in our Nation. "State governments know firsthand the urgent needs faced by millions of Americans who are helped by these nutrition benefits, and the awards announced today recognize their accuracy and the reviewed eligibility of SNAP enrollees."

USDA awards $24 million among the states with the best and most improved payment accuracy rates, while $6 million is awarded among the states with the lowest and most improved negative error rates.

The following States will share $24 million for the best and most improved payment error rates for FY 2009:

Best Payment Accuracy Rate

Florida $7,754,744

South Dakota $336,136

Wisconsin $1,894,828

Delaware $407,494

Nebraska $538,955

Washington $2,969,984

Georgia $4,187,866

Ohio $4,875,956

Most Improved Payment Accuracy Rate

Wisconsin (See above. A State cannot receive an award in both categories. If a State qualifies for both, they will receive an award for best.)

Maine $860,779

Guam $173,258

The following States will share $6 million for the best and most improved negative error rate for FY 2009:

Best Negative Error Rate

Nebraska $312,031

South Dakota $214,062

New Hampshire $241,959

Maine $467,482

Most Improved Negative Error Rate

Florida $3,797,503

Wisconsin $966,963

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. The largest program, SNAP, puts healthy food on the table for more than 40 million people each month, half of whom are children. President Obama's executive order on improper payments was issued in November 2009 and emphasizes the administration's interest in reducing payment errors in Federal programs.

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