Food Stamp Program:

Error Rate Adjustments and Sanctions

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


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.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    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

    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.

    Aug 21, 2014

    Jul 16, 2014

    May 29, 2014

    May 22, 2014

    Apr 24, 2014

    Apr 9, 2014

    Jan 30, 2014

    Sep 13, 2013

    May 15, 2013

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here