Professor David Ribar of the UNCG Department of Economics is a frequent font of common sense on his blog Applied Rationality. This morning’s post: “SNAP in NC wasn’t broken before” is one such example:
“The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under Governor Pat McCrory and Secretary Aldona Wos has fouled up one task after another. As I’ve been discussing in the last few posts, the department’s problems with its NC FAST have delayed food assistance for tens of thousands of disadvantaged households, creating a different kind of NC FAST.
A constant refrain from Gov. McCrory and Sec. Wos throughout these debacles has been that they inherited a ‘broken agency.’ Records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, reveal a different story and show that the previous administration managed its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) caseload competently.
Each year, the USDA measures state agencies’ effectiveness in administering the SNAP in three ways:
- Payment accuracy, which is determined by quality control checks of the percentages of over-payment errors and underpayment errors;
- Application processing timeliness, which is determined by quality control checks of the percentage of SNAP applications that were resolved within statutory limits of 30 days for regular cases and 7 days for expedited cases, and
- Program access, which is measured as the ratio of SNAP participants to people with incomes below 125 percent of the poverty line (it approximates the proportion of people who are eligible for SNAP on the basis of their gross incomes who actually get benefits).
Under former Gov. Perdue, the DHHS performed well under all of these categories.
In fiscal year (FY) 2012, NC had an overall payment error rate of 2.32 percent, which was substantially below the national rate of 3.42 percent. The state’s error rate was falling from 2.65 percent in FY 2011 and 2.70 percent in FY 2010–percentages that were also lower than the national averages for those years….
Read the rest of Ribar’s post by clicking here.