Food stamp fraud: $800,000 here, $700,000 there adding up - The Packer

Food stamp fraud: $800,000 here, $700,000 there adding up

02/26/2013 03:38:00 PM
Tom Karst

USDA has front line responsibility for overseeing and enforcing the law with respect to the more than 238,000 retailers that are authorized to accept SNAP benefits. While the vast majority of businesses participating in SNAP are honest and play by the rules, USDA continues to strengthen sanctions against those few bad actors seeking to take advantage of the program. Last year, USDA compliance analysts and investigators took action to permanently disqualify 1,387 stores for trafficking in SNAP benefits (i.e. exchanging SNAP benefits for cash) or falsifying an application.

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. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children and more than 40 percent of recipients live in households with earnings.

 Today's announcement is part of the Obama Administration's ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste designed to fight fraud, abuse and misuse in federal programs. For more information about USDA efforts to combat fraud, visit the Stop SNAP fraud website at www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fraud.

TK: When you think of the job of keeping 228,000 retailers (and 48 million participants, by the way!) on the straight and narrow  - at the same time the agency is  working to expand access to healthy food for participants - well, it is no easy task.  Clearly, more scrutiny of retailers is required.


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Todd Miles    
Massachusetts  |  March, 17, 2013 at 11:04 AM

It is time for the farm industry to do a little more PR. With the budget issues, folks are looking for cuts, and the "bloated" USDA budget is an attractive target. A friend who is actually politically astute, and educated, gleefully asked me how much of my "share" of USDA subsidies I am getting. He thoughtfully added that my share of the USDA budget is $850,000. When I said that I get NO direct payments, and that most of the USDA budget is for food stamp type benefits he was actually surprised. Even he does not resent the small UMass Extension budget which I do benefit from. When I asked where his $850,000 came from he said it was the USDA budget divided by the number of farmers. Even with food stamps thrown in, I think that the number is balogna, but it is scary that folks are throwing the number around.

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