$252,344 bonus recognizes state’s efforts administering federal food benefit program
Gov. Peter Shumlin and Agency of Human Services (AHS) secretary Hal Cohen announced Sept. 30 that for the second time this year Vermont has received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture a bonus for increased performance in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which offers nutrition assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families. The bonus of $252,344 comes on top of a $293,000 bonus received in July.
The decision to award a performance bonus is based on a state’s program access index (PAI) for calendar year 2014. The PAI uses Census data to calculate the number of SNAP participants by dividing the number of eligible people in the state by overall participation. Vermont’s calendar year 2014 PAI was 92.99 percent, one of the highest in the country.
In addition to benefiting eligible Vermont families directly, Vermont’s strong participation in the SNAP program brings an estimated $10M to the state economy each month, as participants use their SNAP benefits at Vermont businesses to purchase food for their families.
“I want to thank the hard working folks at the Agency of Human Services who made this possible,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Vermont has proven its strong commitment to ensure that all Vermonters in need have access to good food. This second bonus is a good recognition of that commitment and our progress as a state. The bonus comes at a time when nearly one in four people in this state turn to food shelves or meal service plans to feed themselves and their families. Vermont will continue its efforts to fight hunger and reach those hungry Vermonters eligible for nutritional benefits.”
“I am very pleased that our SNAP program has experienced another successful year,” said Hal Cohen, secretary of Human Services. “To have almost 93 percent of all eligible people in our state participating in SNAP speaks to the outstanding effort we have put into ensuring all eligible Vermonters have access to this important anti-hunger program. With the funds from this performance bonus, Vermont can reinvest those dollars to improve the program in key areas like program integrity, access and customer service, which will further benefit Vermonters.”