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USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Releases Fiscal Year 2023 SNAP Payment Error Rates

FNS Emphasizes State Responsibility in SNAP Accuracy

Press Release
Release No.
FNS 005.24
Contact: FNS Press Team

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2024 – USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service today released the fiscal year 2023 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Payment Error Rates, detailing high rates that demand urgent state actions to improve.

SNAP payment errors occur when a state agency certifies a household to receive either too much or not enough SNAP benefits. For fiscal year 2023 (Oct. 1, 2022 – Sept. 30, 2023), the overpayment error rate for SNAP is 10.03%, with an underpayment error rate of 1.64%, in line with the previous year.

Payment error rates are not synonymous with fraud, but rather reflect how accurately states determine eligibility and benefit amounts. Payment errors are largely due to unintentional mistakes, either by the state agency or the household, that affect the accurate determination of eligibility or benefit amounts.

“SNAP is a cornerstone of our nation’s safety net, and accurate benefits are crucial for families in need and for public trust,” said Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service Cindy Long. “We cannot tolerate high error rates in a program that impacts millions of lives. States must take immediate action to improve the accuracy of SNAP payments—or they will face financial penalties.”

While the administration of SNAP is a state responsibility, FNS has been actively engaged in supporting states in both decreasing payment errors and improving the timeliness of payments, another key measure of SNAP performance. To help states analyze root causes of SNAP performance issues and identify responses, FNS has offered onsite visits, virtual trainings, and updated guidance and tools on effective practices. Additionally, FNS has awarded technology grants to state agencies to improve SNAP application and eligibility determination systems.

USDA has also requested funds and additional proposals in the President’s FY25 Budget to improve payment accuracy and enhance program integrity, including funding for quality control and computer systems to support state access to SNAP integrity tools, and establishing a new Office of Training and Development to support states in resolving payment accuracy issues.

States must address persistent post-pandemic error rates in order to avoid financial penalties. All states that performed poorly this year will be required to submit a corrective action plan addressing the root causes of errors to improve payment accuracy. In addition, states with high error rates for two consecutive years are assessed a financial penalty. These penalties can be paid immediately to USDA or settled by investing 50% of the amount in activities that are focused on improving the state’s administration of SNAP. The remaining 50% is held at-risk for future payment to USDA if the state continues to have a high error rate.

“We are sending a clear message to all states: accuracy in SNAP is non-negotiable,” Administrator Long emphasized. “We expect state leadership at all levels to be fully engaged in this effort to improve.”

The state-by-state rates of payment errors can be accessed here.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 16 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022. To learn more about FNS, visit and follow @USDANutrition.


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Page updated: June 28, 2024