Washington State House Democrats


Washington’s food assistance program gets a performance bonus

Legislative News from Representative Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle)

February 3, 2016

Washington’s food assistance program gets a performance bonus

OLYMPIA – Washington received a letter of congratulations and a $2.4 million bonus for having one of the lowest error rates in the country for its Basic Food program. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often called food stamps, is a federally funded program that helps low-income people put food on their table each month. Each state has their own program; in Washington, it is called Basic Food.

The USDA awards bonuses to states that have efficient and effective SNAP programs. In 2014, Washington had a payment error rate of only 0.77 – the national average is 3.66. This payment error rate puts Washington number four among states with the highest percentage of payment accuracy. In recognition of this achievement, the USDA is awarding a bonus of $2,428,058 to Washington’s Basic Food program.

“This is a great example of effective program management,” said Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle). “Because Washington’s Basic Food program is performing so well turning SNAP funds into meals on the table, our program is being rewarded. This will mean even more kids and families can get the healthy, nutritious food they need to thrive.”

In Washington, one out of every seven people relies on the Basic Food program. About half of the people who use SNAP are kids. Families who make up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines are eligible for assistance.