7 CFR § 275.24 - High performance bonuses.
(a) General rule.
(1) FNS will award bonuses totaling $48 million for each fiscal year to State agencies that show high or improved performance in accordance with the performance measures under paragraph (b) of this section.
(2) FNS will award the bonuses no later than September 30th of the fiscal year following the performance measurement year.
(3) A State agency is not eligible for a bonus payment in any fiscal year for which it has a liability amount established as a result of an excessive payment error rate in the same year. If a State is disqualified from receiving a bonus payment under this paragraph (a)(3), and the State is not tied for a bonus, the State with the next best performance will be awarded a bonus payment.
(4) The determination whether, and in what amount, to award a performance bonus payment is not subject to administrative or judicial review.
(5) In determining the amount of the award, FNS will first award a base amount of $100,000 to each State agency that is an identified winner in each category. Subsequently, FNS will divide the remaining money among the States in each category (see paragraph (b) of this section) in proportion to the size of their caseloads (the average number of households per month for the fiscal year for which performance is measured).
(6) A State cannot be awarded two bonuses in the same category; the relevant categories are payment accuracy (which is outlined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section), negative error rate (which is outlined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section), or program access index (which is outlined in paragraph (b)(3) of this section). If a State is determined to be among the best and the most improved in a category, it will be awarded a bonus only for being the best. The next State in the best category will be awarded a bonus as being among the best States.
(7) Where there is a tie to the fourth decimal point for the categories outlined in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(4) of this section, FNS will add the additional State(s) into the category and the money will be divided among all the States in accordance with paragraph (a)(5) of this section.
(8) Bonus award money shall be used only on SNAP-related expenses including, but not limited to, investments in technology; improvements in administration and distribution; and actions to prevent fraud, waste and abuse.
(i) Bonus payments shall not be used for household benefits, including incentive payments.
(ii) State agency awardees shall submit their intended spending plans of bonus payments to FNS to verify appropriate use.
(b) Performance measures. FNS will measure performance by and base awards on the following categories of performance measures:
(1) Payment accuracy. FNS will divide $24 million among the 10 States with the lowest and the most improved combined payment error rates as specified in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (b)(1)(ii) of this section.
(i) Excellence in payment accuracy. FNS will provide bonuses to the 7 States with the lowest combined payment error rates based on the validated quality control payment error rates for the performance measurement year as determined in accordance with this part.
(ii) Most improved in payment accuracy. FNS will provide bonuses to the 3 States with the largest percentage point decrease in their combined payment error rates based on the comparison of the validated quality control payment error rates for the performance measurement year and the previous fiscal year, as determined in accordance with this part.
(2) Negative error rate. FNS will divide $6 million among the 6 States with the lowest and the most improved negative error rates as specified in paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (b)(2)(ii) of this section.
(i) Lowest negative error rate. FNS will provide bonuses to the 4 States with the lowest negative error rates based on the validated quality control negative error rates for the performance year as determined in accordance with this part.
(ii) Most improved negative error rate. FNS will provide bonuses to the 2 States with the largest percentage point decrease in their negative error rates, based on the comparison of the performance measurement year's validated quality control negative error rates with those of the previous fiscal year, as determined in accordance with this part. A State agency is not eligible for a bonus under this criterion if the State's negative error rate for the fiscal year is more than 50 percent above the national average.
(3) Program access index (PAI). FNS will divide $12 million among the 8 States with the highest and the most improved level of participation as specified in paragraphs (b)(3)(i) through (b)(3)(iii) of this section. The PAI is the ratio of participants to persons with incomes below 125 percent of poverty, as calculated in accordance with paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section (the PAI was formerly known as the participant access rate (PAR)).
(iii) Data. For the number of participants (numerator), FNS will use the administrative annual counts of participants minus new participants certified under special disaster program rules by State averaged over the calendar year. For the number of people below 125 percent of poverty (denominator), FNS will use the Census Bureau's March Supplement to the Current Population Survey's (CPS) count of people below 125 percent of poverty for the same calendar year. FNS will reduce the count in each State where a Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) program is operated by the administrative counts of the number of individuals who participate in this program averaged over the calendar year. FNS will reduce the count in California by the Census Bureau's percentage of people below 125% of poverty in California who received Supplemental Security Income in the previous year. FNS reserves the right to use data from the American Community Survey (ACS) in lieu of the CPS, and to use the count of people below 130 percent of poverty, should these data become available in a timely fashion and prove more accurate. Such a substitution would apply to all States.
(4) Application processing timeliness. FNS will divide $6 million among the 6 States with the highest percentage of timely processed applications.
(i) Data. FNS will use quality control data to determine each State's rate of application processing timeliness.
(ii) Timely processed applications. A timely processed application is one that provides an eligible applicant the “opportunity to participate” as defined in § 274.2 of this chapter, within thirty days for normal processing or 7 days for expedited processing. New applications that are processed outside of this standard are untimely for this measure, except for applications that are properly pended in accordance with § 273.2(h)(2) of this chapter because verification is incomplete and the State agency has taken all the actions described in § 273.2(h)(1)(i)(C) of this chapter. Such applications will not be included in this measure. Applications that are denied will not be included in this measure.
(iii) Evaluation of applications. Only applications that were filed on or after the beginning of the performance measurement (fiscal) year will be evaluated under this measure.