Food Stamp Program:

Sanction Estimates Based on Assumed Error-Rate Thresholds

RCED-88-178FS: Published: Jun 2, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 1988.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) management of the Food Stamp Program to determine the effects of raising or lowering the legislated target error-rate threshold that FNS uses to determine whether it should sanction a state for benefit overpayments.

GAO found that: (1) FNS sanctioned 44 states in 1986 under the 5-percent error-rate threshold; (2) if FNS had applied a 2-percent threshold, it would have sanctioned 53 states (the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam); (3) if FNS had applied an 11-percent threshold, it would have sanctioned 4 states; and (4) if FNS had applied 1986 sanctions to combined error rates, it would have sanctioned 53 states at the 2-percent level and 17 at the 11-percent level. In addition, GAO found that: (1) in 1986, food stamp benefits totalled about $10.6 billion, with the FNS share of state administrative costs totalling about $947 million; and (2) the estimated state overpayment of food stamp benefits in 1986 totalled about $850 million, resulting in sanctions of $217 million.

Jul 25, 2018

May 30, 2018

Apr 10, 2018

Feb 8, 2018

Nov 9, 2017

Sep 6, 2017

Jul 14, 2017

Jul 13, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here