Supplement to Comptroller General's Report to the Congress, "The Food Stamp Program--Overissued Benefits Not Recovered and Fraud Not Punished" (CED-77-112 July 18, 1977)

CED-77-112A: Published: Aug 31, 1977. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 1977.

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The Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not dispute the basic thrust of an earlier GAO report on the food stamp program which indicated that proper actions are not being taken to recover overissuances and to punish recipient fraud. However, some USDA comments tend to obscure and minimize the report's message.

USDA stated that the Administration's proposal for overhauling food stamp legislation included most of the legislative changes recommended in the GAO report. However, USDA strongly disagreed with the GAO recommendation that states should retain a portion of federal dollars overissued due to the state's own errors. USDA also proposed that the legislation be revised to make it easier to collect from states the value of food stamp benefits overissued because of state negligence. There is some doubt whether it would be feasible to monitor the states closely enough to identify a significant proportion of all overissuances that occur so that it could be determined whether states were negligent. It may not be reasonable to expect the states to expend the extra effort and money necessary to effectively identify and report overissuances to USDA if they will be required to repay the value of the overissuances.