North Dakota Food Stamp program recognized for accuracy
May 9, 2002
Bismarck, N.D. - Federal officials report that North Dakota is doing a good job of avoiding overpayments and underpayments in the food stamp program. The United States Department of Agriculture notified the North Dakota Department of Human Services that the state achieved a 2001 payment error rate of 5.96 percent. This compares to the national average error rate of 8.66 percent and an unofficial regional average of 6.9 percent.
"These results show the integrity of this important food assistance program in North Dakota. Eligibility workers not only work hard to link qualifying individuals and families up with appropriate programs and services, they also perform their work accurately. This recognition truly goes to the county and state employees whose combined efforts made this possible," said human services executive director Carol K. Olson.
The state's error rate has dropped steadily in recent years after peaking at 11.05 percent in 1997 Olson said. To improve worker accuracy, state officials changed certification periods for households with fluctuating incomes, rewrote the manual that county workers refer to when they have process and policy questions so that information was easier to understand, organized annual training and recognition events, and took other actions.
Currently over 36,000 people in North Dakota receive food stamp benefits and over half of them are children. According to department data, 9.34 percent of the state's population (59,957 people) received food stamp benefits during the 2001 fiscal year. The counties with the largest caseloads were Cass, Ward, Grand Forks, Burleigh, and Rolette.
Arlene Dura, Department of Human Services, Acting Director, Food Stamp Program, (701) 328-2064
Heather Steffl, Department of Human Services, Public Information Specialist, (701) 328-4933