Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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August 22, 2012

Department of Social Services’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recognized for Exceptional Administration

PIERRE, S.D. – For the 28th consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recognized the South Dakota Department of Social Services' (DSS) for its quality administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

South Dakota will receive $650,000 in federal funding for the nation’s lowest negative error rate and being third nationally in the lowest payment error rate for federal fiscal year 2011. The national average negative payment error rate during the fiscal year was 8.3 percent; South Dakota's rate was 0.46 percent. The national average payment error rate was 3.8 percent; South Dakota's rate was 1.59 percent.

The error rate measures the correctness of a state agency's actions to deny an application or suspend or terminate benefits of a participating household. The rate also measures whether a state agency correctly determined a household's eligibility in terms of the state's compliance with federal procedural requirements.

In a message to DSS staff, Gov. Dennis Daugaard remarked, “I know you do not hear ‘thank you’ enough, and I want you to know I appreciate your work. Your efforts to make South Dakota a better place for families who are working towards financial independence are truly important, and together we continue to serve as a model for other states.”

Over the years, South Dakota has received more than $16.9 million in performance money from USDA for accuracy and timeliness in providing SNAP benefits to state residents. The measures of performance are directly related to program integrity and customer service.

As of July, the SNAP program has served 104,279 South Dakota individuals, of which 49,311 were children. The average monthly benefit was $307 per household.

“I am proud of Department of Social Services staffers who continue to provide exemplary public service through accurate and effective administration of the SNAP program, despite record numbers of individuals and families in South Dakota that are currently receiving SNAP benefits,” said DSS Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon. “This award reflects upon their dedication and commitment to helping our residents.”

The SNAP program helps low-income South Dakotans buy the food they need to stay healthy while they work to regain financial independence. Benefits are provided to supplement the recipient’s food budget. The amount of benefits a household receives is based on its size, income, and allowable expenses.

For more information about SNAP, call 1-877-999-5612 or visit SNAP