The Food Stamp Program:

Overissued Benefits Not Recovered and Fraud Not Punished

CED-77-112: Published: Jul 18, 1977. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 1977.

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The Government is losing over half a billion dollars annually because of overissued food stamp benefits caused by errors, misrepresentation, and suspected fraud by recipients and by errors of local food stamp offices.

For every $100 of the more than $5 billion annual benefits issued nationally, overissuances account for about $12; only about 12 cents of that $12 have been recovered. The eight local projects reviewed were doing little to identify and recover the value of these overissuances. At five of the eight projects, about half of the dollar value of the claims established for food stamp overissuances was classified as involving suspected fraud by recipients, but very few recipients were prosecuted or otherwise penalized.

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