USDA Recognizes Mississippi DHS Accuracy

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

During a ceremony at the MSU Riley Center, the state Department of Human Services received a check for almost $2 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The money is for the way the department has handled the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as SNAP.

Donald Arnette, the regional southeast administrator for food and nutrition services of the USDA, said SNAP is really in place so that all families have food to eat.

"The SNAP program has been provided and developed to ensure that individuals who qualify, low-income, working poor, who are eligible to participate in our program are able to get money to buy food so that no one has to go hungry in a household," Arnette said.

Mississippi's payment accuracy rate in issuing SNAP benefits for fiscal year 2008 was 97.36 percent. The average for the rest of the country is only 94.99 percent.

Representatives from USDA said Mississippi's accuracy rate shows it is issuing just enough.

"Sometimes they can give the individual too much benefit. Sometimes they can give them too little benefit. And what Mississippi has done is not given them too much or too little," said Arnette.

Over the past four years, the Mississippi Department of Human Services has received $6 million in bonuses.

"Well it's obvious the dedication is here; the quality work is here. And as a result the people of Mississippi all benefit," said Arnette.

The bonus check will allow Lauderdale County's DHS to start its own new project.

"We're starting a new scanning project that allows us to not use so much paperwork and everything will be electronic from this point on," said Dana Kidd, director of Lauderdale County DHS.

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