Information on Programs Involved in the President's Swap Proposal

CED-82-71: Published: Apr 15, 1982. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided statistical information on the Food Stamp, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and Medicaid Programs which described: program growth by State, differences in benefit levels among the States, degree of correlation between program growth and unemployment, administrative structure of each program, the extent to which recipients of the Food Stamp Program receive benefits from the AFDC and Medicaid Programs, and projections for future program growth.

The proposed New Federalism Program would transfer the responsibility for the Food Stamp and AFDC Programs to the States and, in return, the Federal Government would assume all costs of the Medicaid Program. However, this proposed transfer may be deferred or dropped altogether. All three programs have experienced a large dollar growth over the past years. The number of Food Stamp Program participants has increased, but the increase has tended to level out over the last 2 years. The number of Medicaid and AFDC Program participants has remained relatively stable over the period. The Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act will play a major role in holding down future increases in Food Stamp Program costs by restricting program eligibility. The benefit levels of the AFDC and Medicaid Programs vary widely from State to State while the Food Stamp Program has uniform, national eligibility and benefit schedules. The unemployment rate affects program growth for all three programs but affects the Food Stamp Program the most. All three programs are jointly administered by the State and Federal Governments. The Federal Government establishes eligibility criteria, shares administrative costs, and pays for a portion of the program benefits. The States conduct most of the Programs' administration activities. Individuals can and often do receive benefits simultaneously from any of the three programs. The Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget have made different cost projections for all three programs through 1987.

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