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5 On Your Side: Iowa overpaid SNAP benefits by $40M last year

DES MOINES — Iowa overpaid SNAP benefits by $40 million in Fiscal Year 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most people that received overpayme...

DES MOINES — Iowa overpaid SNAP benefits by $40 million in Fiscal Year 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Most people that received overpayments from the state will be required to pay that money back.

The federal government handed down a $1.79 million to Iowa on July 30 because of the state’s high error rate in their SNAP program.

In Fiscal Year 2018, Iowa incorrectly paid SNAP benefits 10.02% of the time according to USDA documents uncovered by Local 5.

Iowa overpaid benefits 8.91% of the time and underpaid benefits 1.11% of the time.

Iowa’s overpayment rate is the fifth highest in the country, behind Maine (9.84%), Delaware (11.95%), Rhode Island (12.31%) and Washington, D.C. (13.69%).

Fiscal Year 2018 SNAP issuance data*
Overpayment Underpayment Net OverpaymentTotal Issuance
Iowa$39.8 million $4.95 million $34.8 million$446 million
U.S.$3.38 billion$737 million$2.64 billion$60.4 billion

*According to U.S. Department of Agriculture

Iowa’s overall error rate (10.02%) is the sixth-highest in the country. Iowa’s underpayment rate (1.11%) is the 22nd lowest in the country.

Local 5 previously reported on a letter USDA leaders sent to ex-Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven in 2018, which warned the state of an impending fine if they didn’t improve their system.

Local 5 has requested interviews with DHS several times, but they declined our repeated requests. They said they’ll make the director available for an interview once they have “more information to provide”.

If you were over or underpaid SNAP benefits in the state of Iowa, we want to hear from you. Contact Chief Political Correspondent and Investigative Reporter Rachel Droze by email at rdroze@weareiowa.com or call the newsroom at 515-457-1026.