Saving taxpayer money is an important focal point today, not just here in Washington, but in living rooms all across the country. At USDA, we’re achieving this by improving the way Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are being delivered to millions of low-income Americans.
Providing nutrition for struggling individuals and families is the primary focus of the program, but the June 16 announcement of SNAP payment accuracy rates documented by states underscores the Obama administration’s ongoing effort to make government more accountable to the American people.
Though SNAP is a federal program, each state is responsible for monitoring and improving its administration. The payment error rate achieved a record low in FY 2010 (3.81 percent). Just as notably, over 98 percent of SNAP recipients are eligible for some benefits. The key is getting the amount everyone gets correct. Payment accuracy is providing the correct amount of SNAP benefits to eligible households. And we want to be sure that no one gets too little or too much in benefits. That way we know that we are using the taxpayers’ money to its fullest extent.
States are getting better and better at getting the amount right when it comes to benefits. The average level of payment accuracy for the past year is about 97 percent, which is the fourth year in a row that SNAP has accomplished an historic high rate. This commitment to accuracy has been maintained even as the states struggle to meet record demand at a time when their own budgets are squeezed. Two states in fact, Texas and Illinois are being recognized for both best payment accuracy rates and most improved rates.
The other good news is that for the second straight year, states overall have improved their negative error rates – this is a measure of denial, terminations and suspensions. The data illustrates that states view program integrity as a top priority, and with good reason. In March, nearly 44.6 million people received SNAP benefits. That’s more than at any time previously in the history of the program.
Americans support putting healthy food on the table for those among us in need, but they also want to know taxpayer funds are being used wisely, and these new data confirm that yet again.
Here is a list of all the states we are recognizing today:
Best Payment Accuracy Rates
Most Improved Payment Accuracy Rates
Best Negative Error Rates
Most Improved Negative Error Rates
District of Columbia