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DCFS Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Receives Awards for Accuracy and Quality in Food Benefits

The Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services' (DCFS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recently received the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services' Program Integrity Award and the Quality Control Star Award for the its commitment to payment accuracy and excellence in quality control in issuing SNAP benefits (formerly called Food Stamps).

The awards indicate that DCFS had fewer errors in making payments, closing cases and denying benefits to SNAP recipients and more accurate and timely case reviews than any other state in the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services' (FNS) Southwest region.

"Our SNAP team is dedicated to providing accurate quality services to our clients and these awards are evidence of their commitment to being responsible stewards of public funds," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "Through the hard work of these dedicated individuals, we are able to ensure that families and children receive the supplemental nutrition assistance they truly need."

For Federal Fiscal years 2006-2008, DCFS achieved an average 5.88 percent combined payment error rate and negative payment error rate for SNAP case payments, closures, and denials. The FNS Southwest region also includes New Mexico with a 7.07 percent combined rate, Arkansas with 6.99 percent, Oklahoma with 6.14 percent and Texas with 12.04 percent. DCFS also received the Program Integrity Award in 2009.

"It is extremely important for the households in our state that rely on SNAP benefits to supplement their monthly food budget in order to provide good nutrition for their families that payments be accurate and timely," said Johnson. "I am very proud of these awards, as well as the many other honors and awards our agency has received as a result of our commitment to providing accurate payments and high quality, efficient services for Louisiana's children and families."

DCFS representatives accepted the awards at the 2010 Tri-Regional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Conference, which was held August 10-12 in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to state agencies in the FNS Southwest Region, state agencies from the Southeast and Mountain Plains regions also were in attendance.

In February 2009, DCFS' SNAP received DM Review's 2008 Innovative Solution Award in the Business Intelligence/Analytics category for its use of mapping technology to help detect fraudulent activity in the state's SNAP.

In 2008, the agency received an award from the USDA for Outstanding and Timely Customer Service for regular SNAP. Louisiana, with a timeliness rate of 95.44 percent, was one of six states to receive the award for "timeliest processed applications" during Federal Fiscal Year 2007.

In June 2007, the program received three awards at the FNS Tri-Regional SNAP Conference in Atlanta - a Quality Control Star Award, a Financial Management Award and a Pinnacle Award.

Louisiana received the 2007 Quality Control Star Award based on measurable standards of excellence in quality control, including timeliness of transmission, case completion rate, accuracy and data validity. The Financial Management Award was awarded for excellence in initial budget projections based on DCFS' variance of only 1.1 percent between the original budget submission for Fiscal Year 2006 and final reported expenditures. The Pinnacle Award was awarded to 19 states, including Louisiana for excellence in SNAP management and dedication to improving customer service.

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