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USDA Recognizes States for Exceptional Nutrition Assistance Service

Release No.
FNS-4.12

Contact:
FNS Communications (703) 305-2281

National Payment Accuracy Rate Reaches Historic High

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2012 – Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today highlighted the historic levels of payment accuracy State agencies achieved in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Fiscal year (FY) 2011 is the fifth consecutive year States improved payment accuracy and program integrity in the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program.

“The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that SNAP benefits are distributed with the utmost integrity and accuracy,” said Concannon, Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “Working with our state partners, we will continue to make improvements that protect taxpayer dollars while helping struggling individuals and families put healthy food on the table."

The payment accuracy rate was 96.2 percent in FY11, a record high. Payment accuracy is a measure of the correct determination of eligibility and benefit levels. Payment accuracy information is used to analyze and improve program administration.

“Over 98 percent of recipients are eligible for some benefit. The key is getting the amount of benefits right, not too much and not too little,” Concannon said. “Today's announcement should inspire confidence that States continue to get better and better at getting the amount right, and that SNAP continues to be a well-managed taxpayer investment.”

Under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, each State agency is responsible for monitoring and improving its administration of SNAP. Every year, State agencies conduct Quality Control (QC) reviews of a statistical sample of their participating SNAP households. A QC review consists of a detailed examination of household non-financial and financial circumstances, including income, resources and deductions, to determine whether benefits were accurately authorized for active cases or improperly denied or terminated for negative cases.

Reducing childhood obesity and improving the nutrition of all Americans are vital to achieve a healthy future for America. That’s why the Obama administration and USDA are committed to promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles and to ensuring that all Americans have access to safe, nutritious, and balanced meals.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 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 46 million people each month, half of whom are children. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.