DCF Press Release


State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist
Governor

Robert A. Butterworth
Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Governor's Press Office
July 1, 2008 (850) 488-5394

Governor Crist Applauds Improvements in
Florida’s Food Stamp Program


~ Improved payment error rate yields $5.5 million high-performance bonus ~

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Charlie Crist today congratulated Secretary Bob Butterworth of the Department of Children and Families for receiving a $5.5 million bonus from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for high performance and excellent administration of Food Stamp Program benefits. Florida was recognized by the USDA for the most improved performance in payment accuracy among all the states.

“Secretary Butterworth has done a tremendous job transforming how applications for food stamps are processed in Florida,” Governor Crist said. “He has led us from having one of the highest error rates in the nation to transforming Florida’s program into a model for the nation.”

In 2006, Florida received a payment error rate of 8.59 percent, one of the highest error rates in food stamp payments. This year, Florida’s error rate was 4.15 percent, achieving the most improved status and ranking 14th among the states. Improvement is continuing and so far this year, Florida’s improvement rate of 1.55 percent is second best in the nation, behind only South Dakota.

“This is a remarkable turn around. It’s our staff throughout the state who really made this happen,” said Secretary Bob Butterworth. “We went from being warned about potential penalties to the most improved accuracy rate in the country. The ACCESS eligibility employees at the department worked tirelessly to make this improvement, and this is only one of the ways in which we strive to be Florida’s action agency.”

The payment error rate measures the state's accuracy of determining eligibility for food stamps, including the state's compliance with federal procedures. In achieving these results, Florida's ACCESS Office (Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency) has improved program integrity, according to the USDA.


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