Health and Family Services Cabinet
Food Stamp Program Gets $1.4 Million Bonus for Excellent Customer Service; Kentucky gets federal award for fourth consecutive year
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2007) – Federal officials in Frankfort today awarded Kentucky’s Food Stamp Program $1.4 million in federal bonus funds for its exemplary service delivery to service applicants.
Roberto Salazar, administrator of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, presented the check to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ (CHFS) Department for Community Based Services for the state’s performance during the 2006 federal fiscal year.
This is the fourth consecutive year that CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services, which administers the federal program, has received such an award.
Salazar commended cabinet staff for their continued productivity.
“Kentucky has done a great job in helping their most vulnerable citizens obtain a more healthful diet through the Food Stamp Program,” Salazar said. “One of USDA’s top priorities is to continue partnering with states to ensure our nation’s 15 nutrition programs are administered with an emphasis on improved access and increased participation among eligibles, while maintaining a high-level of program integrity.”
CHFS Deputy Secretary Tom Emberton Jr. said leadership is proud of the staff working to enroll Kentuckians in the Food Stamp Program.
“Our staff has demonstrated a true commitment to delivering the nutrition services provided by the federal government,” said Emberton. “Without food stamps, many of our clients would have trouble providing healthy meals for their families.”
Kentucky was among the top six states with the highest percentage of timely processed food stamp applications during fiscal year 2006, with an application timeliness rate of about 98 percent.
The other five states sharing $6 million in bonus funds are Massachusetts, South Dakota, West Virginia, North Carolina and New Hampshire.
The USDA administers the Food Stamp Program and sets a 30-day standard for state agencies to process food stamp applications. Kentucky’s rate was well above the national average of 88 percent.
Figures show that Kentucky has exceeded a federal standard for target participation rates in the program every year since the guidelines were implemented. Monetary awards have traditionally been used to strengthen the program.
“Our food stamp eligibility staff is well trained to assist customers and handle their concerns,” DCBS Commissioner Mark A. Washington said. “Because of DCBS employees’ efficient service, our clients have a broader gateway to nutrition and wellness.”
Emberton also acknowledged CHFS’ Office of Information Technology staff.
“Without their systems support, our field staff could not consistently achieve this high processing rate,” he said.
To learn more about the food stamp program, including how to apply, log on to chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dfs/foodstampsebt.htm.
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