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FNS Awards Nearly $905K to DC Department of Human Services to Enhance Efficiency and Access in SNAP

Process and Technology Improvement Grants support efforts by state agencies.

Press Release
Release No.
MARO DC 092923
Contact: FNS Press Team

Washington, D.C., Sept. 29, 2023 – The Mid-Atlantic Regional Office of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) awarded the District of Columbia Department of Human Services (D.C. DHS) $904,859 to enhance efficiency and access in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. The Process and Technology Improvement Grant, or PTIG, supports efforts to improve the experience of SNAP participants by enabling grantees, like D.C. DHS, to use technology to streamline operations and provide better customer service.

“FNS aims to improve customer experience in all its nutrition security programs,” said FNS Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Dr. Patty Bennett. “Congratulations to D.C. DHS and a special thanks to their dedicated staff who will use this grant to explore new ideas and gain feedback to better design experiences that meet customers’ needs.”

The PTIGs demonstrate the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to championing fairness and equity in USDA’s service to program participants. Additionally, the grants build on FNS’s commitment to modernizing programs, reducing administrative burdens, and piloting new online tools and technologies that can provide a simple, seamless and secure customer experience.

The multi-year grants support efforts by state agencies and their community-based and faith-based partners to develop and implement projects that use technology to improve the quality and efficiency of SNAP application and eligibility determination systems.

D.C. DHS will use innovative approaches, including Optical Character Recognition and a Robotic Process Automation bot, to streamline the process of collecting paper documents and adding them to SNAP case files. This will save staff time by automating clerical tasks, so they instead focus on the more complex aspects of SNAP eligibility, ultimately improving customer service.

Previous grantees have used PTIG funding to make SNAP improvements such as making mobile applications easier to use, implementing live call centers, and creating automated text messaging notifications to remind households of key actions required to maintain benefits. Once awarded, grantees have three years to spend the funds and complete their projects.

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 www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.

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Page updated: October 02, 2023