North Dakota Food Stamp program ranks 8th nationally
July 19, 2004
BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota’s Food Stamp program ranks eighth among the states in program accuracy according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Federal officials reviewed 2003 data and report that North Dakota is doing a good job of avoiding overpayments and underpayments. The state’s payment error rate was 4.85 percent. The national average error rate was 6.64 percent.
Department of Human Services’ Executive Director Carol K. Olson said, “These results show the integrity of this important food assistance program in North Dakota. The credit goes to the county eligibility workers who perform their work accurately and to the department’s employees who handle policy, training, and quality assurance responsibilities.”
North Dakota consistently scores well in state comparisons, earning enhanced funding eight times between 1981 and 1991. The seventh best state in the 2003 analysis had an error rate just 0.07 percent better than North Dakota’s rate. The top seven states will split a federal performance bonus of $24 million.
In 2002, North Dakota’s error rate was 6.14 percent. To improve worker accuracy, state officials regularly evaluate the program and make adjustments. North Dakota has changed certification periods for households with fluctuating incomes, has rewritten the manual that county workers refer to for program administration details, has posted manuals on-line, and has organized annual training and recognition events. State staff also travel regularly to counties to review cases and to provide additional training as needed.
Last month 41,675 people in North Dakota received food stamp benefits and almost half of them were children. The counties with the largest caseloads were Cass, Ward, Grand Forks, Burleigh, and Rolette.
Arlene Dura, N.D. Department of Human Services (DHS), Director, Food Stamp Program, (701) 328-2064, or Heather Steffl, DHS Public Information Officer, (701) 328-4933