ICYMI: Biden Administration Blasts Governor Kemp for Failing Georgia Children, Calls for “Immediate Action”

February 15, 2024

State falls significantly short of metrics for providing Georgians on-time, accurate benefits

Last week, the federal government put Governor Brian Kemp’s administration on blast for failing to consistently deliver on-time and accurate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to Georgians, putting some of our most vulnerable families at higher risk of going hungry. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack called on the State of Georgia to take immediate action to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the state’s SNAP program. 

The letter showed that Governor Kemp’s administration lags notably behind in providing Georgians their benefits on time, and also provides the wrong amount of benefits at an unacceptable rate. 

“Could Brian Kemp run the state any worse? Vulnerable Georgia kids and families are at risk of going hungry as SNAP benefits are getting to families too late, if at all,” said DPG spokesperson Alex Yerkey. “The Kemp administration is failing to administer basic programs, and while the Governor wants to brag about a $16 billion budget surplus, it’s at the expense of starving Georgia children.”

Previous reporting on this issue has identified a laundry list of failures dating back to 2022 with Kemp’s administration of the vitally important SNAP program.

Read the story from 11Alive below:

11Alive: USDA secretary calling for immediate action from Georgia, other states when it comes to issuing SNAP benefits on time

Makayla Richards, Liza Lucas; 2/13/2023

Key Points:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary is calling for immediate action from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other states, concerning the need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • SNAP is a federal program that operates as a safety net for millions of Americans, yet falls under state administration. Vilsack addressed 47 U.S. governors in the letters issued Feb. 8, including Gov. Kemp, highlighting the importance of timely and accurate processing of SNAP benefits and the impact on vulnerable families.
  • Data included in the secretary’s letter indicates that Georgia had an Application Processing Timeliness (APT) rate of 84.90% in Fiscal Year 2022, a benchmark which should be above 95%.
  • Additionally, the state reported an overpayment error rate of 11.75% and an underpayment rate of 3.23%, exceeding the acceptable limits of 6% when the two numbers are added together.
  • In November, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service sent formal notice to the Georgia Department of Human Services, which administers the program in Georgia, demanding state leaders submit a corrective action plan. That letter indicated Georgia is “severely out of compliance with Federal requirements” related to processing new applications on time; federal law requires benefits be issued to eligible recipients within 30 days in the majority of cases.
  • 11Alive has asked Governor Brian Kemp’s office for a response to the secretary’s letter. The governor’s press secretary has repeatedly referred questions back to DHS. In the interim, Vilsack’s letter indicates the USDA plans to continue working with states experiencing challenges. 


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