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USDA Awards $18 Million to States for Exceptional Customer Service in Food Stamp Program


WASHINGTON.– Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner today announced that a total of $18 million will be awarded to States that provided exceptional administration of the Food Stamp Program in FY 2006.

“As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Food Stamp Act, we recognize the meaningful work and significant efforts of our state and community partners to improve the nutritional health and wellbeing of children, the elderly and their families,” said Conner. “I commend these States for their outstanding efforts to alleviate hunger for our most vulnerable citizens.”

As authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill, USDA awards $12 million in high performance bonuses among the eight States that have excelled in the area of program access. These States have the best, or most improved, program access index. The index is the percentage of households below 125 percent of poverty that are participating in the program. The following States will receive awards for best program access index: Maine, Missouri, Tennessee, and Oregon. The following States will receive awards for most improved program access index: Massachusetts, Mississippi, Vermont, and Maryland.

In addition, USDA awards $6 million among the six States that processed Food Stamp applications in the timeliest manner. Processing applications in a timely manner also improves access and customer service, both of which are USDA priorities for clients receiving nutrition assistance. The following States will receive awards under this category: Massachusetts, Kentucky, South Dakota, West Virginia, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.

USDA’s 2007 Farm Bill proposals support State efforts to improve access and participation by those eligible for this critical nutrition program, including proposals to exclude IRS approved college education savings plans, retirement savings accounts and military combat pay when determining eligibility for Food Stamp Program benefits. USDA also proposes to eliminate the cap on dependent childcare expenses.

USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs work together to form a national nutrition safety net that helps to meet the needs of children and low-income people in a variety of settings. For example, among food stamp households with school-age children, 88 percent received a free or reduced-price lunch and 68 percent received a free or reduced-price breakfast. Among those with children under age 5, 64 percent participated in WIC.

The 14 states below will receive high performance bonus awards:

State Bonus Amount
Maine $683,692
Missouri $2,254,344
Tennessee $2,870,339
Oregon $1,695,473

State Bonus Amount
Massachusetts $1,726,484
Mississippi $1,396,703
Vermont $268,193
Maryland $1,104,772
Total $12,000,000

State Bonus Amount
Massachusetts $1,290,453
Kentucky $1,449,389
South Dakota $224,571
West Virginia $719,588
North Carolina $2,072,590
New Hampshire $243,409
Total $6,000,000

In June 2007, the Food Stamp Program awarded $30 million to States for exceptional program administration. Awardees included South Dakota, Missouri, Washington, Mississippi, North Carolina, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Rhode Island, Idaho, New York, Vermont, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Minnesota. For more information on USDA’s nutrition assistance programs, visit our website at .


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