Nevada's ongoing welfare reform efforts have earned the state $2 million from the federal government, Gov. Kenny Guinn says.
Last year was the fifth in a row that Nevada has placed among the top 10 states for welfare performance.
Increased participation in the food stamp program and success in the work force rate were two reasons for the $2 million bonus from the Department of Health and Human Services.
In 2002, Nevada had an average of 91,216 food stamp program participants per month, compared with 70,016 participants in 2001 - an increase of 30 percent.
From 2001 to 2002, job retention increased from 60 percent to 63 percent and earning gains for startup-level jobs increased from 28 percent to 35 percent, placing Nevada second in the nation for success in the work force.
Participation in Nevada's welfare programs increased dramatically after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the economic slowdown, but caseloads are now declining.
Between September 2001 and September 2002, Nevada experienced a 48 percent increase in its cash assistance caseload.
Between September 2002 and August 2003, the cash assistance caseload declined 17 percent. But this caseload is still 24 percent above the federal 2001 level.
"It is satisfying to know Nevada's explosive growth in caseload was recognized for the Food Stamp bonus," said Nancy Ford, welfare division administrator. "I am proud of the welfare division staff who have worked hard to implement welfare reform initiatives that serve the needs of Nevada's underemployed families."