SNAP vouchers: there is an error in payments to families
During the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased actions to ensure assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but that generated errors.
This was recognized by that agency, which is already working with the governments of each state to fix the situation, something that is not expected to directly impact the families that received extra money.
USDA indicated that in 2022 an overpayment error rate of 9.84% was registered, which exceeded the 3% reported in 2019.
That Department is committed to helping states, whose governments distribute the funds, improve the accuracy of SNAP payments.
“[Esto] to ensure the program effectively and efficiently serves those in need and promotes good stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” USDA nutrition officer Stacy Dean said in a statement.
The federal agency justified the error to the "challenging circumstances" that caused the pandemic, when thousands of people lost their jobs or saw their incomes reduced.
“The first set of state-by-state payment error rates to emerge from the pandemic reflects the challenging circumstances in which state agencies operated and from which many continue to recover,” Dean said.
USDA can now address those errors, after Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act last year, which canceled appropriations for the COVID-19 pandemic.
What about the extra money?
The federal government seeks to prevent direct impacts on families benefiting from SNAP, but there is also no clarity on how it will do it, if the extra money should be returned in some way.
“We are redoubling our efforts to work with state partners to find ways to reduce payment errors and aggressively address problems at their root,” Dean said.
This comes at the same time that the SNAP program sends new payments to Georgia, Indiana, and Utah.
The amount for each family depends on each state, but can range from $188 dollars to $1,691 dollars, if the family is eight members.
The date when the funds are awarded depends on the beneficiary's Social Security number, last name, case number or account number, and coincides with the last payment received by that family.
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