Massachusetts of Department of Transitional Assistance

A Publication of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance

Vol. XIX No.11 | November 2004
From the Forms File    |    From the Hotline    |    Quality Corner    |    FYIs    |    Keypoints    |    New Initiatives


“Change begins with understanding, understanding begins with conversation.”

Author Unknown


Commissioner, John WagnerDear Fellow Employees,

I recently announced our $1.25 million bonus award from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for Application Timeliness in the Food Stamp Program. Massachusetts was recognized for the timely approval and delivery of food stamp benefits in over 98% of our applications. The dimensions of this award are far reaching. This month I’d like to take a closer look at why this award matters. It matters to us as DTA employees because others are viewing our Department and the Food Stamp Program in a new light. Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey made a public announcement from the Massachusetts State House recognizing our efforts; news of the award resonated across the air waves and the announcement appeared in many local newspapers. All of this helps to educate the public about our Department’s mission. While doing a good job is in itself inherently rewarding, it’s also gratifying when others recognize the efforts we put into our work. Being timely with our food stamp application processing demonstrates our continued commitment to maintaining the public’s confidence and trust.

The award also matters to our clients. We have made timely processing a priority, so that our food stamp applicants can count on the highest standards of prompt service and attention. Even more significantly, however, the money from this award will be directed towards ESP programs that help our clients with job search, job placement, education and training activities. All of these services will enable our clients to make meaningful changes in their lives and help them establish a more sharpened focus on their future.

Finally, the Application Timeliness Award matters because success in one award category can often stimulate success in the other award categories. Other USDA award categories are related to food stamp payment accuracy and participation rates. We remain competitive in both categories, and I expect that additional awards are obtainable next year. The $1.25 million bonus award didn’t happen by accident. It took discussion, planning and work. Over the next few months, I encourage employees at every level within the Department to advance the conversation on this topic. As always, I want to hear about any practice your office has implemented that will bring us further in our accuracy, participation and timeliness goals.

Before signing off, I want to add that Thanksgiving is around the corner. It is a fitting time for me to once again express my thanks to you for all you’ve done. I hope all of you enjoy the holiday. The food stamp bonus award is evidence that this year more of our clients will be enjoying theirs.


John Wagner, Commissioner

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