Hawaii SNAP Program Receives Federal Award for Improved Access to Services

The State of Hawai’i Department of Human Services (DHS) has been awarded a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Bonus of $724,139 for the most improved Program Access Index for fiscal year FY 2012.

EBT Card

“This award is the result of great work by the DHS Benefits, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD),” says DHS Deputy Director, Barbara Yamashita.  “It’s nice that the Federal SNAP program recognized the staff’s commitment to program integrity and customer service, and Hawaii’s improved performance.”

Between 2008 and 2012, the number of Hawaii SNAP recipients increased from 93,956 to more than 179,700 participants.  The DHS also was operating with a severely reduced workforce and limited program funding.  In some locations, timely application processing rates dropped to about 75%.

The DHS BESSD developed and implemented the Business Process Re-engineering Program (BPRP) in late 2011 to address the applications backlog. The BPRP converted the former Case Management system to a Process Management system. BESSD eligibility workers now consistently review and determine applicant eligibility within the federally-mandated period of 30 days; 7 days for emergencies.

“Through the BPRP and extraordinary staff effort, the DHS has significantly improved the timeliness of eligibility reviews and shortened the waiting period for individuals and families applying for SNAP benefits,” says BESSD Administrator, Pankaj Bhanot.  “Over the past year, timeliness rates across the state have hovered between 95% and 97%, and BESSD continues to exceed federal requirements.”

A Food and Nutrition Service representative is traveling to Hawaii to present an award plaque to BESSD on December 3, 2013.


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