DHS Receives Federal Bonus for Improved Program Access – Second Consecutive Year

Posted on Sep 30, 2014 in NEWS

The State of Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) has been awarded a federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) bonus of $915,580 for the most improved Program Access Index (PAI) for fiscal year 2013. This is the second consecutive year, and third time overall, that Hawaii has been recognized for its program improvements.

Formerly called Food Stamps, the federally funded SNAP program provides crucial food and nutritional support to qualifying low-income and needy households. SNAP is administered through the federal Food and Nutrition Service (FNS); however, state agencies determine applicant eligibility and monthly benefits.

In a letter to the DHS, Kevin W. Concannon, Under Secretary, FNS Consumer Services wrote, “I personally commend you for this achievement and encourage you to continue your efforts to improve Hawaii’s PAI and overall administration of SNAP.”

The PAl is the ratio of participants to the number of people below 125 percent of poverty based on U.S. Census Bureau data. This customer service measure supports the FNS goal of improving program access. Hawaii’s 2013 PAI of 96.15 percent reflected a 7.71 percentage point improvement over its FY 2012 PAl of 88.44 percent.

“This award is the result of continued great work by the DHS Benefits, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) staff,” said DHS Director Patricia McManaman. “It’s encouraging that the federal SNAP program continues to recognize Hawaii’s commitment to program integrity, customer service, and improved performance.”

Improved SNAP performance during the Abercrombie Administration also led to the recent dismissal of a 2010 class action lawsuit against the DHS for application backlogs accrued between 2008 and 2011. During that period, the BESSD was operating with a severely reduced workforce and limited program funding, and the number of Hawaii SNAP recipients almost doubled to 179,700 participants. To address the application backlog, BESSD developed and implemented Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) project, which converted the former Case Management system to a Process Management system.

SNAP application processing rates currently ranged between 96 and 98 percent, and BESSD continues to exceed federal requirements. An estimated 99,348 Hawaii households (195,448 individuals) receive SNAP assistance each month. On average, BESSD issues $44million in benefits each month to Hawaii SNAP recipients.

For more information about SNAP, visit the DHS website www.humanservices.hawaii.gov/bessd/snap

Media Contact:
Kayla Rosenfeld, Public Information Officer
586-4892; [email protected]