OSAWATOMIE, Kan.—For Kansas, the bad news is the state flubbed more than $18.9 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Payments during fiscal 2013.
The good news is this represents an improvement. The state snapped a streak of rising payment errors that stretched back to 2010.
Overall,Kansas incorrectly paid out 3.99 percent of the roughly $474 million distributed during fiscal 2013. The state overpaid on 3.24 percent ($15.4 million) and underpaid on .75 percent ($3.5 million) of all SNAP disbursements.
Even with the improvement, Kansas still lags behind the national overall average of 3.2 percent.
Here’s the recent history for the Sunflower State:
- Fiscal 2010 – 4.79 percent error rate / $18.36 million
- Fiscal 2011 – 5 percent error rate / $22.1 million
- Fiscal 2012 – 5.45 percent error rate / $24.8 million
Theresa Freed, communications director for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, told Kansas Watchdog last year that the state’s elevated error rate was caused, at least in part, by Kansas’ focus on paying benefits before eligibility was verified. Now, it seems, that’s no longer the case.
“We are now doing a better job of rechecking applications to ensure we have all needed information prior to authorization, to prevent errors from ever happening,” Freed said.
“Our (Economic and Employment Services) staff meets with our regional director on a monthly basis to discuss the error rate. We are also continually researching the types of cases that are more prone to errors so we can be proactive in preventing inaccurate payments.”
Kansas’ SNAP program serves 127,651 households, including 150,003 adults and 135,979 children.