The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded the state of Kansas $621,501 in bonus funds for substantially improving its payment error rate in the food assistance program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore announced.
“When this administration started, the state of Kansas was in danger of being penalized for its poor performance,” Gilmore said. “We are now leading the nation after implementing a new business process that makes client service a high priority. We once averaged 30 days to provide someone an eligibility determination. A client now knows if he/she is approved for food assistance within eight to 10 days.”
The payment error rate consists of the sum of two components—the overpayment rate and the underpayment rate. Overpayments reflect benefits issued over the amount that a household is entitled to receive, while underpayments reflect benefits that a household is entitled to but did not receive. Kansas’ overpayment rate is .60 percent, while the underpayment rate is .14 percent.
The USDA notified Kansas of the news on June 26. The letter to Gov. Sam Brownback advised that Kansas’ error rate was .75 percent in FY 2014. The national average is 3.66 percent.
According to the USDA, Section 16(d)(2)(B) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, authorizes the USDA to award $48 million in bonuses to state agencies that demonstrate high or improved performance in administering SNAP. The $621,501 SNAP High Performance Bonus issued to Kansas will be placed in a special fee fund for SNAP-related activities.
“I wish to commend Kansas for being one of the states with the most improved payment error rate during FY 2014,” USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS) Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said. “Kansas’ payment error rate improved from 3.99 percent in FY 2013 to .75 percent in FY 2014, a 3.24 percentage point decrease.”
The USDA has also shared with Secretary Gilmore that Kansas is ranked eighth in the country for another performance award category—best and most improved case and procedural error rate (CAPER), at 11.27 percent, compared to the national average of 26.3 percent. The top four states will receive bonus funds.
“We are delighted to see that all of our hard work is paying off. We are doing more to protect the integrity of this program so that only those who are truly eligible for assistance receive it,” Secretary Gilmore said.
DCF currently serves 278,263 food assistance clients. The average benefit per person is $113.26 per month.