(WASHINGTON, D.C.), March 20, 2013 ― Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today announced a new federal-state partnership targeting recipient fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). USDA will share its extensive experience in monitoring retailer fraud to help states develop a more robust set of tools to identify suspicious activity and improve tactics to catch recipients that attempt to commit SNAP fraud. By law, USDA is responsible for overseeing the more than 250,000 retailers that redeem SNAP benefits nationwide, while states are responsible for identifying and pursuing fraudulent activity by recipients.
Over the past several years, USDA has taken steps to improve SNAP oversight through the SNAP Stewardship Solutions Project, including requiring more frequent reviews of higher risk retailers and expanding the definition of fraud to crack down on newer methods of SNAP benefit abuse. In the coming months, USDA will announce a series of additional steps to strengthen regulations that prohibit SNAP trafficking. Trafficking, an illegal activity, is the exchange of SNAP benefits for cash. USDA has seen a steady decline in the rate of trafficking from four percent down to about one percent of benefits over the last 15 years. While fraud is rare in SNAP, no amount is acceptable, and it will not be tolerated. USDA continues to crack down on individuals who violate the program and misuse taxpayer dollars.
SNAP ― the nation’s first line of defense against hunger ― helps put food on the table for millions of low income families and individuals every month. The largest of USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs, it has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. SNAP is a vital supplement to the monthly food budget of more than 47 million low-income individuals. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children and more than 40 percent of recipients live in households with earnings.
For more information about USDA efforts to combat fraud, visit the Stop SNAP fraud website at www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fraud.