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Food Stamp Program Receives $1.55 Million Bonus Award for Exemplary Delivery of Service

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, October 11, 2005  
Contact Information:  Vikki Franklin or Beth Crace (502)564-6786  


Food Stamp Program Receives $1.55 Million Bonus Award for Exemplary Delivery of Service

(Oct. 11, 2005) Kentucky has garnered special recognition for its state Food Stamp Program, recently earning a bonus award of $1.55 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for exemplary delivery of a service used by hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.


Governor Ernie Fletcher was notified Sept. 28 that Kentucky has been selected as one of six states to earn a high performance bonus, a monetary award given to states with the highest percentage of timely processed food stamp applications. Specifically, Kentucky’s program, which is administered by the Department of Community Based Services, maintained a rate of 98.07 percent based on federal processing guidelines.


“This award demonstrates the efficiency of a program that is vital to thousands of families in Kentucky,” said Eugene Foster, Ed.D., undersecretary for children and family services in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “With greater access to food stamps, more people can purchase nutritious foods and lead healthier lives. The dedicated staffs in the family support offices around the state, which must process numerous food stamp applicants accurately and promptly, are playing a key role in building a healthier Kentucky.”


The USDA standard, created with the intent of expanding access to the Food Stamp Program, is 30 days for government agencies to process food stamp applications. Kentucky’s percentage reflects that 98.07 percent of applications were processed within the federal timeline.


DCBS Division of Family Support Director Kelly Jackson said Kentucky’s program, the highest performing of the six states that received bonuses, aims to exceed the federal guideline. She said 1,800 family support workers across the state work tirelessly to deliver services as quickly as they can, often completing applications for benefits faster than the 30 day timeframe.


 “I’ve never forgotten being a caseworker and how hard that job is,” said Jackson, who originally worked in the Fayette County office. “This just shows how much caseworkers care and how hard they work to get people benefits in a timely manner.”


Figures show that Kentucky has exceeded a federal standard for target participation rates in the Food Stamp Program every year since the guidelines were implemented. Traditionally, awards have gone to strengthening the program.


The other states receiving the high performance bonus for timely processed food stamp applications this year are Massachusetts, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia.


The high performance bonus awards grew out of the provisions of the federal Farm Bill, which directed the federal government to award states demonstrating high or improved performance in delivery of food stamps. The government also recognizes states with low payment error rates, low negative error rates and high program access indices.


In 2004, the Food Stamp Program served 10.3 million American households. Jackson said as of August 2005, there were 241,000 food stamp households in Kentucky. Similarly, September 2005 retail figures show the program pumped $52 million into the state’s economy.


According to the USDA, the Food Stamp Program was created to provide low-income households with coupons or electronic cards, which are used at grocery stores to purchase healthy food items. The USDA administers the Food Stamp Program at the federal level through its Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). State agencies administer the program at state and local levels, including determination of eligibility and allotments and distribution of benefits.


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*Editor’s Note: A news conference has been set for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the Department for Community Based Services Office, 908 W. Broadway, Louisville. Eric Bost, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, and Don Arnett, FNS southeast regional administrator, will be on hand for a check presentation of the bonus award.



 

Last Updated 10/11/2005
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