OTHER VIEW: State gets bonus for accuracy with food stampsIt’s not unusual to hear about shocking levels of waste and fraud in government programs that result in millions of wasted tax dollars.
It’s not unusual to hear about shocking levels of waste and fraud in government programs that result in millions of wasted tax dollars.
That’s why it’s so heartening to hear about dedicated government employees who do their jobs well, serving not only the taxpayers whose dollars are well spent, but the recipients of government services.
The South Dakota Department of Social Services has just been recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its impressive record of accuracy in administering the food stamp program.
South Dakota ranked second in the nation for handing out food stamps in the correct amount, with an error rate of a mere 1.31 percent.
The average national payment error rate was 3.81 percent.
It also ranked second in the nation for correctly identifying who was eligible for the program, with an even better error rate of only 0.25 percent.
The national average for that was 8.43 percent.
As a result of its diligence, the state will get a bonus of nearly $525,000 to put back into the food stamp program.
This isn’t the first time South Dakota has earned this distinction. The state has received a bonus for its accurate administration of food stamps for 19 years in a row.
This year’s award raised the running total of bonuses to more than $16 million over the past 27 years.
As of May, the food stamp program has served 102,247 South Dakotans, nearly half of them children. Benefits — which average about $310 per household, per month — are based upon a family’s size, income and allowed expenses.
The state has maintained its high level of accuracy even as record numbers of families are seeking help.
“Staff who work with the program continue to provide exemplary public service through accurate and effective administration of the program,” said Department of Social Services’ Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon.
The high level of accuracy has enabled South Dakota to help more people who are struggling to put enough food on the table.
In these difficult economic times, the bonus put back into the program will be put to good use.