FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2009
USDA Awards DSS $1.8 million Bonus for Application Processing Rate
Louisiana One of Six to Receive Award
- The Louisiana Department of Social Services is one of six states to receive a bonus award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for having the best application processing times in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.
Louisiana received the highest bonus award of the six states - $1,865,726, which will be used for continued modernization efforts. This is the second consecutive year that Louisiana has received the bonus award for having among the highest rates of timely processed applications. Louisiana's timeliness rate for Federal Fiscal Year 2008, which the award was received, was 95.70 percent, an increase from the FFY 2007 rate of 95.44 percent.
"DSS is dedicated to improving the efficiency of our processes so Louisiana residents can access the services they need," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "Timely application processing is especially important in today's economy when Louisiana residents are in need of nutrition assistance to provide for their families and children."
Each year, the USDA awards $6 million in bonus awards to the six states with the best record of timely application processing, an important measure of the SNAP program's customer service.
"I am very proud of our staff for their hard work in achieving the customer service goals we have set for our agency, even with the increased demand for services over the past year," said Nichols. "This award continues the honors our staff has received for their commitment to providing quality, efficient services for Louisiana households."
This most recent award follows a line of recognition that DSS has received for its SNAP program. In February 2009, DSS received DM Review Magazine'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 Program.
In 2007, the program received three awards at the Food and Nutrition Service Tri-Regional Food Stamp Program Improvement Conference - the Quality Control Star Award, Financial Management Award and Pinnacle Award.
The 2007 Quality Control Star Award was 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. DSS's final reported expenditures varied only 1.1 percent from initial budget projections. The Pinnacle Award was awarded to 19 states, including Louisiana for excellence in Food Stamp Program management and dedication to improving customer service.
For more information on DSS Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, visit www.dss.louisiana.gov
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