Nevada food stamp program wins federal bonus | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada food stamp program wins federal bonus

Federal officials have awarded Nevada a $1.46 million bonus for having one of the nation’s lowest error rates in running its food stamp program.

Kate Coler, U.S. Agriculture Department deputy undersecretary for food and nutrition services, said Nevada had an error rate of just 2.8 percent – fourth lowest in the nation. She said that included 2.12 percent of clients being overpaid and just three-quarters of a percent receiving less than they are entitled to.

Gov. Kenny Guinn commended the welfare division for its work, which he said protects taxpayer dollars while providing food to the needy. He said the achievement was especially impressive in view of the fact Nevada has led the nation in growth rate for the past 19 years.

Division Administrator Nancy Ford praised the work by her staff. She pointed out that offices in Elko, Pahrump, Reno’s professional development center, Winnemucca and Yerington had no reported errors in determining and awarding benefits.

Coler said she sees the program not so much a welfare program as a nutrition and lifestyle program. She said the goal is to improve the health of people in the program and to “move people to self-sufficiency.”

She said the awards program is important to encourage states to improve efficiency and accuracy since food stamps nationwide is a $30 billion program.

The state with the lowest error rate is South Dakota at just 1.19 percent. The worst record is Washington. D.C., with a 9.89 percent error rate.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.