South Dakota food assistance program earns top ranking

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PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) - South Dakota is among four states leading the nation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program administration, according to a recently released USDA report. The Department of Social Services will receive over $1.2 million in bonuses for the recognition which is based on the state’s exceptionally low error rates.

On Sept. 28, 2018, the U.S Department of Agriculture released the official Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Quality Control case and procedural error rates for federal fiscal years 2016 and 2017. South Dakota will receive $226,917 for the fiscal year of 2016 and $978,090 for the fiscal year of 2017. The error rate was around 10 times less than the national rates for both years.

“We are very proud of the exceptional job DSS staff do to administer the program and help eligible low-income South Dakotans meet their food needs,” said Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti.

The report measures the correctness of a state agency’s action to deny an application, suspend or terminate benefits. It also measures compliance with procedural requirements such as timeliness of the action and customer notification regarding the action.

“This is the 34th consecutive year South Dakota has received federal award bonuses,” said Valenti. “The award affirms South Dakota’s commitment to ensure program integrity.”

According to federal rules, the state’s performance bonus must be reinvested in SNAP related activities such as technology, improvements in administration and distribution, fraud prevention or other eligible activities.

The SNAP program helps low-income South Dakota families buy the food they need to stay healthy while they regain financial independence. For more information about the SNAP program, please visit dss.sd.gov/economicassistance/snap/.