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FNS Call to Action After SNAP Error Rate Release
USAgNet - 07/07/2020

The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service announced the fiscal year 2019 payment error rate for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. The error rate is a key indicator of payment accuracy, measuring a state's ability to determine a household's eligibility for SNAP and issue benefits in the correct amount. The nationwide error rate for FY 2019 is 7.36%.

"The payment accuracy data released today are a clear message that states must redouble efforts to ensure taxpayer-funded benefits for households in need are determined accurately, every time," said Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps. "USDA's FNS is leading the effort, providing our state and local partners with detailed information and specific recommendations designed to empower them to address the key drivers of their payment error rates."

While federal funds cover 100% of benefits and 50% of administrative costs, FNS is dependent on state and local partners to operate the program. To ensure leadership at all levels are engaged in improving accuracy of SNAP payments, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sent letters to the governors of the 14 states with the most significant error rates asking for their "personal involvement." The FY 2019 national error rate increased from 6.8% in FY 2018.

Secretary Perdue also notified Congress that USDA, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, will withhold the usual 50% reimbursement of state SNAP agency administrative funds for those states who fail to comply with their corrective action plans. He also called on Congress to fund an FY2021 budget proposal for electronic income verification. Errors from the lack of timely and accurate wage reporting represent 40% of all errors in the program. The budget proposal addresses the largest single source of errors and reduces the burden on recipients to report.

Secretary Perdue also notified Congress that USDA, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, will withhold the usual 50% reimbursement of state SNAP agency administrative funds for those states who fail to comply with their corrective action plans. He also called on Congress to fund an FY2021 budget proposal for electronic income verification. Errors from the lack of timely and accurate wage reporting represent 40% of all errors in the program. The budget proposal addresses the largest single source of errors and reduces the burden on recipients to report.

FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American's agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

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