Two branches within the Department of Human Services were recognized and awarded bonuses on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, along with the Disaster SNAP.
The Quality Control Unit within D.H.S.’s Division of Family Assistance, which manages the SNAP and DSNAP programs, was recognized for consistently administering the Food and Nutrition Service with “complete and thorough quality case files that consistently adhere to documentation requirements of the FNS 310 handbook,” said Natalie Bailey, administrator of the program, speaking during a Government House press conference Thursday. There was also no evidence of bias found in the program’s execution during a quality control integrity audit. Because of this, the division — which distributed DNSAP to 30,000 households following the 2017 hurricanes, while simultaneously distributing regular SNAP to 29,000 households territory-wide, was awarded a bonus of $190,825.
The department’s Certification and Front End Unit was awarded a bonus of $175,730 for having the most improved case and procedural error rates, called Capers, in the entire U.S. “These Capers measure the territories or states compliance with federal procedures and requirements,” Ms. Bailey said.
Department of Human Services Commissioner, Felecia Blyden, and Governor Kenneth Mapp, congratulated the employees and heads of the recognized departments for their efforts.
Eric Ratchford, Mid Atlantic regional director of the USDA Food and Nutrition Services also lauded the D.H.S. employees.
“This is a great day to come and share this recognition event with the Department of Human Services with the honorable Governor Mapp and the lieutenant and some of his cabinet members,” Mr. Ratchford said. “This is something that I think is needed for the employees who put out the work and had to deal with the adversities of [Hurricanes Irma and Maria].”
He added, “We recognize that you guys are still trying to pickup the pieces, but still serving the folks who need the SNAP program the most… The resilience of not only your island, but your people, your leadership. Someone’s who’s been away for a year and come back and see the changes and the progress, I think everybody in this room, all the USVI residents, need to applaud their own selves. You’ve bounced back beautifully.”