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DCF Reports Major Reduction In 3Squares Errors

Two years ago, federal regulators hit Vermont with a $500,000 fine for high error rates in the state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as 3Squares. But the Department for Children and Families now says it has one of the better-performing divisions in the country.

Error rates in the 3Squares program soared to 9.66 percent in 2013, making Vermont among the worst-performing states in the country. The poor compliance numbers triggered penalties from the federal government, and some families even had to retroactively compensate the state after officials sent them more money than they were entitled to.

Sean Brown, deputy commissioner of DCF, says the state has since added staff to its compliance unit, and added to training and oversight.

“So we’ve created what we would call a quality assurance unit of several staff who look at the cases being processed that month to look for trends in errors being made so that we then can quickly target trainings out to staff,” he said.

Errors rates for the most recent federal fiscal year fell to below 2.76 percent,  earning Vermont a nearly $300,000 federal performance bonus. Brown says the money will likely be reinvested into the 3Squares program.

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