Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

June 16, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: DCF Communications
(850) 488-4855

Florida Awarded More than $6 Million for Food Assistance Program Excellence
~ For Third Year in a Row Florida Leads Nation in Accuracy~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Florida was again named the best in the nation for food assistance accuracy, saving taxpayers money while providing help to those in need. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that the diligent work of Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) employees has earned the state a bonus of more than $6 million.

"The hard work of our employees and their professional dedication has made the Department's program a national model again," said DCF Secretary David Wilkins. "It is an honor that reflects well on our larger calling to provide critical services to help families in a manner that respects taxpayers' expectation of efficiency."

The state will receive a bonus of $6,083,577 for having the nation's lowest error rate of food assistance payments. The error rate, 0.78 percent, results in taxpayer savings through efficiency and activities to assure that only those who qualify get help.

The Department's Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) program determines eligibility for Medicaid, food and temporary cash assistance. The program has received numerous federal and private awards for innovation and excellence.

Florida's Food Assistance Program (also known as Food Stamps or SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is one of the largest in the country, providing more than $5 billion worth of benefits to more than 4.2 million people in the past year. Since 2008, the state has earned nearly $24 million in federal bonuses based on performance.

The $6 million in federal bonuses will be spent at the discretion of the Legislature. In the past, the Legislature has allocated some of the funds for temporary staff, overtime and technology improvements to help the state cope with caseload increases caused by the recession and unemployment.