Tampa Bay, Florida -- In October, the 10 News Investigators reported how some families were receiving benefits from the Department of Children and Families were asked to pay back some of those benefits after the department discovered it had calculated the benefits incorrectly.
Now according to a DCF press release, the state of Florida will receive a bonus for food assistance accuracy.
DCF RECEIVES $9 MILLION FEDERAL BONUS FOR FOOD ASSISTANCE ACCURACY
About $40 million has been awarded to Florida in past five years for improvements and program excellence
TALLAHASSEE - Florida once again was named as one of the best states in the nation for accuracy in processing food assistance for those in need, saving taxpayers' dollars while still quickly and correctly providing help to individuals, children and families.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that the precise work of the Department of Children and Families' economic self-sufficiency processors earned the state of Florida a bonus of $9.1 million.
"I am so proud of our dedicated and diligent employees who have made our agency a role model once again for other states across this country," said Secretary David Wilkins. "We are able to provide critical help to those in need while ensuring that only those who are qualified for these federal benefits are receiving them."
Florida's error rate of 0.87 percent was second only behind Alaska. This is the fifth year in a row that DCF's improvements and accuracy in correctly processing food assistance applications has received accolades and bonus money from the federal government, totaling almost $40 million.
Below are the amounts received in bonus money for the past five years:
· 2012: $9.1 million
· 2011: $6.1 million
· 2010: $11.5 million
· 2009: $7.1 million
· 2008: $5.5 million
In a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary of the U.S.D.A.'s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, wrote: "I personally want to commend you for your achievement and encourage you to continue your efforts to improve program integrity. ... Proper administration of this important nutrition assistance program results in public confidence as we work together to provide services to needy Americans."
DCF's Economic Self-Sufficiency program determines eligibility for Medicaid, food assistance and temporary cash assistance. 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 assistance to 3.4 million individuals in May. The $9 million in federal bonus money will be spent at the discretion of the Legislature.