USDA Rewards Vermont’s Efforts to Improve the Accuracy of 3SquaresVT Payments

09 July 2015
Department for Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Ken Schatz reported today that Vermont’s official payment error rate for 3SquaresVT - a federally-funded program that provides food assistance to approximately 84,000 Vermonters - was 2.76% in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2014. This puts DCF below the national average of 3.66% for FFY 2014 and represents a significant improvement over FFY 2013 when the rate stood at 9.66%.

Vermont was among the States with the most improved payment error rates in FY 2014 — with a 6.90 percentage point improvement in payment accuracy over FFY 2013. This solid performance earned Vermont a federal high-performance bonus of approximately $293,000.

“This bonus recognizes the State’s strong commitment to making sure all Vermonters can put three healthy meals on their tables each and every day,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “We will reinvest these funds into initiatives that support program integrity, enhance program access, improve customer service, and continue strengthening our ability to serve Vermonters in need.”

Several initiatives contributed to the dramatic turnaround in Vermont’s payment error rate:

  • Adding new eligibility workers;
  • Delivering intensive staff trainings;
  • Restoring ESD’s training unit; and
  • Consulting with national experts around best practices.

“The improvement in the state’s payment error rate is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of DCF staff,” said AHS Secretary Hal Cohen. “They work extremely hard to make sure Vermonters receive the right amount of food benefits. I thank and commend them for their strong commitment and dedication to making 3SquaresVT work for Vermonters in need.”

To learn more about 3SquaresVT, go to


The Food & Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the SNAP program nationally, requires states to achieve a minimum accuracy rate of 94% when issuing benefits – or face penalties. This means that the percentage of total recipients who were either under or over paid (calculated as a Payment Error Rate) must be below 6% to be in compliance.

Released: July 9, 2015