Each year, as required by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, USDA issues the payment accuracy rate for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) nationally and state by state.
I’m happy to announce that the fiscal year (FY) 2013 SNAP payment accuracy rate is an impressive 96.8 percent. This is an all-time high, and is the seventh year in a row with record-breaking accuracy rates. Payment accuracy means providing the correct amount of SNAP benefits to eligible households. The aim is to make sure that no one gets too little or too much in benefits, but gets exactly the amount they are intended to receive under the law. This historically high rate indicates that states are continuing to reduce improper payments in SNAP and are making sure that eligible citizens get the right amount of benefits.
States have continuously improved their payment accuracy rates over time which has meant savings for the American taxpayer. In FY 2000, the payment accuracy rate was 91.1 percent. By raising the payment accuracy rate by 5.7 percent, the program saved $4.34 billion.
According to www.paymentaccuracy.gov, the average government-wide payment error rate for all federal programs was 3.53 percent in FY 2013, meaning the SNAP program has a smaller than average error rate.
USDA works closely with states to help continue improving payment accuracy in SNAP. We provide technical assistance to states to promote modernization and process improvements in SNAP offices. We also focus on training, effective database matching, and we share best practices from federal and state experts who do an excellent job monitoring, analyzing and evaluating payment accuracy strategies.
SNAP is a vital part of the nutrition safety net for those facing hard times. It is critical that all states keep a sharp focus on payment accuracy so that all families receive the amount of benefits they are intended to receive under the law.
States should be commended for their hard work in continuing to strive to protect taxpayer dollars.