HARRISBURG – Building on a proven track record of success, Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman announced that the U.S.
Department of Agriculture has awarded Pennsylvania a $3.7 million high performance bonus for its ability to accurately determine eligibility for its
food stamp program.
DPW plans to use the bonus to continue investing in technological improvements that will help county assistance office staff to be more efficient, to further reduce errors and improve accuracy.
“We have nearly achieved our goal of making Pennsylvania’s food stamp program the best-run in the country,” said Richman. “Our tightly run
application process ensures eligible, low-income families can meet basic nutritional needs while also making taxpayer dollars go further by reducing fraud and abuse.”
During fiscal 2006, Pennsylvania’s food stamp program achieved a negative error rate of 0.27 percent, ranking third in the nation and a remarkable 30 times lower than the national average of 8.02 percent. Recognized for its payment accuracy and negative error rates — a measure of a state taking action in denying, suspending or terminating benefits when appropriate — the USDA awarded $3.7 million to DPW as a performance bonus.
In addition, Pennsylvania was also recognized for ranking among the top 10 states for overall food stamp accuracy.
Earlier this year, the department announced the implementation of the combined application project, allowing approximately 34,000 seniors and
adults with disabilities to simultaneously apply for both supplemental security income, or SSI, and food stamps.
The Department of Public Welfare administers the food stamp program through 97 county assistance offices statewide and provides benefits to low-income and disabled individuals and families, including working families, who need help with food expenses.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s food stamp program and initiative to improve customer service, visit the Department of Health’s Web site.