Project: Food Stamp Certification Periods and Payment Accuracy: State Experience During 1996-2000
Award Year: 2001
Amount of award, fiscal 2001: $159,463.00
Institution: Abt Associates, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Gregory Mills
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: The project determines the extent to which State-level payment error rates in the Food Stamp Program are due to inaccuracy in initial certifications as opposed to inaccurate payment levels for ongoing cases. The relationship between shortened certification periods, payment accuracy, FSP participation, and administrative costs will be examined through case studies in three States.

The study develops a steady state model that breaks down the overpayment error rate into intake portion of the caseload and three probabilities: the intake error rate, the error introduction rate, and the error correction rate. The error rates are estimated using 1996-2000 data from FNS's Quality Control (QC) files. The effect of a shorter recertification period on the overpayment error rate is analyzed in terms of its effect on the three component error probabilities. This analysis is conducted after stratifying the caseload into households with earnings and households without earnings. In addition, a semi-structured interview will be conducted with the Food Stamp Program directors and the food stamp quality control directors in three selected States that have chosen to implement shorter recertification period for some or all of their caseloads. Measures will be collected on how the change has affected the tradeoffs between maintaining payment accuracy and pursuing other objectives such as promoting program participation and restraining the growth of administrative costs.

Topic: Program Integrity, Program Operations, SNAP/Food Stamp Program
Dataset: Food Stamp Program Quality Control Data (FSPQC)
Mills, G., D. Laliberty, and C. Rodger. Food Stamp Certification Periods and Payment Accuracy: State Experience During 1997-2001, E-FAN-04-012, USDA, ERS, November 2004.