DHHS - Awarded Bonus for Excellence in Access To its Food Stamp Program

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Family Assistance (DFA) is being recognized for improvements to its Food Stamp Program (FSP). The Federal Food Stamp Program will be awarding DHHS with a performance bonus totaling $330,456.

"Allowing children, seniors and others to go to bed hungry is not an acceptable option,” stated DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “This recognition is a tremendous accomplishment for DFA and is a testament to the dedication of our staff who work tirelessly on behalf of the people they serve.”

"This performance bonus recognizes states who improve access to the food stamp program from among low income people who are eligible for it," said DFA Director Terry Smith. "This is the second time we've won an award like this. In 2002, we were awarded more than a million dollars for increasing the food stamp participation rate of eligible families with children."

The mission of the food stamp program is to serve as a nutritional safety net for low-income people. To measure its mission outcomes, in 1998 New Hampshire's FSP conducted an analysis of how many people were eligible for food stamps versus how many actually participated. This was the first time such a study had been conducted. Six months after submitting it to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, federal authorities came out with their own national study on participation and began providing high performance awards for this new category.

"New Hampshire set a standard for program management that has been adopted as a national model. Since submitting that first program analysis in 1998, the rate of eligible New Hampshire people participating in food stamps has improved steadily every consecutive year. We're the only state in the Northeast who can claim that," stated Smith.

Currently 32,325 households participate in the Food Stamp Program in New Hampshire. All benefits are federally funded and amount to nearly $70 million a year in New Hampshire. The maximum food stamp benefit is about $4.50 per person per day, or a bit over a dollar per meal. Food Stamps can only be used to purchase food; tobacco, alcohol, paper products, or other non-food items are not allowed.