Federal Officials Recognize N.D. Food Stamp Program
October 13, 2003
Bismarck, N.D. - Officials from the USDA Regional Food and Nutrition Service Office in Denver presented North Dakota with an award October 9, 2003, recognizing the state for providing accurate food stamp benefits. North Dakota was recognized for surpassing the national average accuracy rate in federal fiscal year 2002.
Sonny Bryant, regional director of USDA's Food Stamp Program, presented the award to Carol K. Olson, executive director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services, at a meeting with state program officials in Bismarck.
"This award acknowledges the commitment of our state and county employees to ensure accuracy of benefits in our Food Stamp Program," Governor John Hoeven said. "The performance of our human services professionals at the state and local level is commendable, and we appreciate the recognition from federal officials in the Denver regional office."
According to human services, N.D. had an error rate of 6.14 in 2002, the third lowest in the 10-state Mountain Plains administrative region. The national average was 8.26.
States that have high error rates face penalties that can total millions of dollars. Twenty states face sanctions for their 2002 error rates; California tops this list with a $62.5 million penalty.
The food stamp program is intended to help low-income Americans meet their nutritional needs. About $3 million in food stamp benefits are issued each month to state residents. In June 2003, 17,570 households in N.D. received food stamp benefits and 44 percent of those households had earned income. People were working, yet their household income still qualified them for food stamp benefits.
Arlene Dura, N.D. Dept. of Human Services' Food Stamp Program Director, (701) 328-2064
Heather Steffl, N.D. Dept. of Human Services' Public Information Specialist, (701) 328-4933