Food Stamp Program Rewarded for Excellence
MONTGOMERY - Governor Bob Riley and Department of Human Resources Commissioner Page Walley today announced that the state will receive a $1.7 million bonus from the federal government for the superior performance of Alabama's Food Stamp Program.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the nation's food assistance programs and is awarding the bonus, has released performance ratings for 2007 that show Alabama's negative error rate among the four lowest in the nation. The negative error rate measures states' accuracy in determining food stamp eligibility and correctness in actions to suspend or deny benefits.
Alabama's negative error rate was 0.51 percent, while the national average was 10.94 percent. Alabama also ranked below the national average for its payment error rate, which measures overpayments and underpayments made to households for food assistance benefits.
"Our Food Stamp Program continues to be recognized as one of the most accurate and efficient programs in the nation," said Governor Riley. "That means benefits are going to those who need them and errors within the system are being kept to a minimum. I want to commend Commissioner Walley and his staff for their continued efforts to serve Alabamians in need while also being good stewards of the taxpayers' money."
This is the second High Performance Bonus Alabama's Food Stamp Program has received in the past three years. The $1.7 million bonus will be directed to DHR, where it will be reinvested in the Food Stamp Program and other essential state services.
"This confirms, once again, that our staff does a great job ensuring that Alabamians in need of food assistance are able to provide healthy meals for their families," said Commissioner Walley. "The bonus money will help us continue to provide quality service to families in need of assistance."
In a letter to Governor Riley, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Nancy Montanez-Johner congratulated the state on obtaining a negative error rate and a payment error rate below the national average.
"This reflects a strong commitment on your part to the proper administration of this aspect of the Food Stamp Program" wrote Montanez-Johner. "I personally want to commend you for your achievement and encourage you to continue your efforts to improve program integrity and the overall administration of the FSP(Food Stamp Program)."
The Alabama Food Stamp Program issued benefits to 546,000 Alabama households during Fiscal Year 2007.