This Food Stamp Program (FSP) Quality Control (QC) Annual Report presents official quality control error rates and other statistical data derived from FSP QC reviews conducted for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004.
Each State agency conducts monthly QC reviews of a statistical sample of households participating in the FSP (active cases) and households for which participation was denied or terminated (negative cases). These reviews measure the validity of food stamp cases at a given time. The reported State dollar and case error rates are based on these reviews. The State reviews also provide information on the error cause and characteristics of the household.
Additionally, Federal reviews of each State’s sample are conducted annually to validate each State agency’s error rate. The official active error rates listed in this report are based upon the Federal validation reviews of the State agency samples.
In a program that provided more than 24.6 billion in benefits in FY 2004 to needy Americans, more than half of whom are children and the elderly, efficient and effective program administration is essential.
Local agencies certify households for food stamp benefits and, along with the State agencies, are directly responsible for operating the FSP. While the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) can assist States through a variety of methods, the States themselves must ultimately make the commitment to conduct accurate and efficient program operations. FNS remains committed to supporting the ongoing efforts of States to increase the accuracy of food stamp certification actions.
To help support these efforts, FNS has undertaken special initiatives designed to increase payment accuracy. Activities in FY 2004 included: 1) continued funding for State Exchange activity; 2) FNS regional payment accuracy conferences; 3) technical assistance to designated States; and 4) National and regional publications publicizing successful payment strategies implemented across the country.
As a result of these special initiatives and the efforts of individual State agencies, the national payment error rate has declined in FY 2004 for the sixth straight year.
In addition to efforts to increase the accuracy of food stamp certification actions, FNS is also continuing to make improvements to the FSP to ensure that it is responsive and effective in its support of those individuals and families who rely on its benefits. This includes making the FSP more visible and accessible to needy individuals and working families. (author abstract)