Examination of Program Data and Analysis of Nonparticipation
PEMD-88-21, Jul 5, 1988
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) data on its Food Stamp Program to determine: (1) the current level of operations in recent years; and (2) state variations in application, participation, and termination counts and rates. GAO also reviewed published studies regarding reasons for nonparticipation in the Food Stamp Program.
GAO found that: (1) reporting variations among states and data quality problems prohibited accurate analyses and estimation of the numbers of applications and terminations under the program; (2) monthly household participation increased from 5.6 million in 1979 to 7.9 million in 1982 and then gradually declined to 7.2 million in 1986; and (3) data quality problems precluded meaningful analysis of variations among or within states of application, participation, and termination rates. GAO also found that available research studies on program nonparticipation: (1) did not base participation rates on FNS data; (2) contained fairly old data; and (3) cited lack of knowledge and program administrative procedures as major impediments to program participation.
- Closed - implemented
- Closed - not implemented
Recommendation for Executive Action
Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct FNS to estimate the number of people eligible for the Food Stamp Program for 1 month during each year and to determine the monthly termination rates for 1 month during each year from state case files.
Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture
Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.