Agriculture and Food:

Indian Food Stamp Proposal

RCED-95-57R: Published: Nov 30, 1994. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 1994.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the feasibility of eliminating the conditions for tribal organizations to administer the Food Stamp Program on Indian reservations, focusing on: (1) whether Indian tribal organizations have expressed interest in administering the program; and (2) the barriers to and effects of tribal administration of the program. GAO noted that: (1) tribal officials are unaware of federal regulations governing the Food Stamp Program and have expressed little interest in assuming program administration; (2) the barriers that would prevent tribal administration include the statutory cost-sharing requirements and the potential penalties that could be imposed for administrative errors; (3) tribal officials believe that for them to assume program administration, they will need to revise the program's infrastructure, obtain and train staff to administer the program, and modify certain program regulations to better meet the needs of Indian clients; (4) tribal administration of the Food Stamp program will likely increase administrative costs, Indian enrollment, and benefit distribution; (5) the tribes and the states would incur additional costs for coordinating and sharing information on program participation in both tribally-administered Food Stamp Programs and state-administered assistance programs; and (6) state officials believe that tribal administration of the Food Stamp Program would increase the burden on food stamp recipients participating in both tribally-administered Food Stamp Programs and state-administered assistance programs.

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