Illinois food stamp program, serving
a half million, awarded bonus
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[OCT. 1, 2004]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod
Blagojevich announced Tuesday that Illinois will receive a $4.3
million bonus from the United States Department of Agriculture for
improving the accuracy rate in the state's food stamp program.
Illinois has shown dramatic improvement in calculating food stamp
benefits paid to low-income residents and has one of the lowest
payment error rates in the nation. In previous years, Illinois faced
penalties of up to $25 million dollars from the USDA for food stamp
payment errors. Now, the Illinois program is seen as a model for
"In these tough economic times, it's
important to ensure that all who are eligible for the food stamp
program receive the benefits they need to feed their families," Gov.
Blagojevich said. "I commend the Illinois Department of Human
Services for its excellent performance, which not only helps
Illinois families but also resulted in an increase of over $4
million for the state's strained budget."
The payment error rate indicates the
percentage of errors in determining the correct amount of benefit
for recipients. Illinois was one of 15 states and the District of
Columbia to receive a bonus for improved performance in
administering the program. Illinois received the third highest
bonus, behind California and Texas.
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Illinois' payment error rate improved
from 8.7 percent in federal fiscal 2002 to 4.8 percent in 2003.
"Our improved accuracy is a result of
our food stamp modernization efforts that have improved customer
service and payment accuracy through use of technology," said
Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams. "It means
that we're receiving an A grade of 95 percent when it comes to
providing the correct benefit to our food stamp recipients. This is
important for families who depend on food stamps, and at the same
time it means less staff time and money spent on resolving payment
there were 493,533 households receiving food stamps in Illinois, an
increase of nearly 12 percent over last year.
[News release from the