Sep 24, 2010 12:01 PM by Katie Durio
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) has received a $1.4 million bonus award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for outstanding and timely customer service in providing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps.
"DCFS is striving for improved customer service and increased efficiency throughout our agency," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "It is encouraging to see that our SNAP program is receiving federal recognition for the program's work to achieve these goals."
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.
Louisiana earned the timeliness bonus for the third consecutive year. This year's $1,486,999 award was the third highest bonus award of the six states awarded including Massachusetts, Kentucky, West Virginia, South Dakota and the District of Columbia.
"Timely application processing is a critically important part of our service delivery, especially in today's economic circumstances," said Johnson. "The demand for our services has increased due to the economy and the oil spill, so continuing to provide and improve customer service and timely application processing helps to ensure that residents in need can continue to put nutritious food on the table for their children."
Louisiana's timeliness rate for Federal Fiscal Year 2009, which the award was received, was 95.95 percent, an increase from the FFY 2008 rate of 95.70 percent.
The award is the most recent award for the agency's SNAP program. In August, DCFS announced that the SNAP program received the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services' Program Integrity Award and the Quality Control Star Award for having 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.
In February 2009, DCFS 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 FNS Tri-Regional SNAP 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. DCFS' 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 SNAP management and dedication to improving customer service.
For more information on DCFS Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, visit www.dcfs.louisiana.gov.