A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Human Services says state workers are making fewer errors in determining food assistance benefits for Iowans who qualify for the federal program formerly known as food stamps. Roger Munns says Iowa’s error rate now stands at 3.36%, down from 6.49% a year ago.
Federal officials say Iowa ranks 19th among the 50 states in accurately determining Food Assistance benefits. Florida is the top-ranked state with an error rate of under one-percent. Munns credits Iowa’s success to a combination of “renewed commitment to program integrity” and technology.
“We are now transitioning to what we call electronic case files, which enables our workers to evaluate applications from any part of the state – no matter where they themselves are located. So that made a difference as well,” Munns said. The improved error rate in Iowa comes at a time when the state is offering Food Assistance to a record 382,000 recipients.
“That’s an 11% increase over a year ago,” Munns said. He also notes there are now fewer state workers reviewing applications because of layoffs due to budget cuts. The error rate is based on overpayment or underpayment of benefits – in addition to benefits that are improperly denied or terminated.
The average Iowa family on Food Assistance receives about $270 a month.