Efforts To Control Fraud, Abuse, and Mismanagement in Domestic Food Assistance Programs:

Progress Made--More Needed

CED-80-33: Published: May 6, 1980. Publicly Released: May 6, 1980.

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The status of corrective actions taken on past GAO recommendations in 17 reports dealing with fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in several food assistance programs administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are reviewed. Information on corrective actions was obtained through interviews with agency officials from USDA headquarters and some regional staffs, and by reference to other pertinent sources. Fieldwork was not performed to verify that the corrective actions had been effectively implemented. Although many improvements have been made, administrative and legislative correction is still lacking on some matters.

USDA has not implemented the recommendation that instructions be issued on how and when school lunches should be tested for compliance with requirements. GAO believes that appropriate congressional committees should consider intensifying their oversight of the National School Lunch Program until the problem is corrected. Congressional revisions of the Special Summer Food Service Program for Children have resulted in substantial improvements in program integrity. However, GAO continues to be concerned in the areas of funding State and sponsor administrative costs, obtaining feeding sites with adequate facilities, and program monitoring. More improvements are needed in the Food Stamp Program in the areas of administrative adjudication, guidance on prosecutions, and information and monitoring. The GAO recommendations in this area should be reconsidered by Congress and USDA. Further action is needed regarding coupon-issuing agents not meeting accountability requirements. More oversight might help ensure that USDA and the Department of Labor give appropriate authority to improving work registration as a means of reducing the need for food stamp program benefits. Nationwide regulations should be implemented as soon as practicable to implement the legislative changes intended to target food stamp disaster relief to those actually needing it.

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