Food Stamp Program:

Error Rate Adjustments and Sanctions

RCED-88-10: Published: Oct 22, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 1987.

Additional Materials:


John W. Harman
(202) 512-5138


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) procedures for adjusting states' Food Stamp Program error rates to account for uncompleted state quality control reviews.

GAO found that: (1) adjustments for uncompleted case reviews were relatively small for 1984 and 1985; (2) only one state suffered an increased sanction because of an error-rate adjustment; (3) adjustments may vary for states with similar review completion rates; (4) some states with similar completion rates received different adjustments; (5) the variations occurred because FNS considered regressed error rates and error-rate standard deviations in determining adjustments; and (6) FNS followed its usual rulemaking process in setting the adjustment procedure.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: According to USDA, the Hunger Prevention Act eliminated the step function used in the sanction computation, thereby, eliminating the reason for this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator, FNS, to devise a sanction process that separates financial penalties for uncompleted reviews from financial penalties for exceeding the target error rate. An alternative for doing so could entail a graduated sanction based on the extent to which states do not complete the prescribed number of reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Nov 9, 2015

Sep 16, 2015

Jun 15, 2015

Jun 3, 2015

May 21, 2015

Apr 30, 2015

Feb 25, 2015

Jan 5, 2015

Dec 19, 2014

Aug 21, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here