Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Payment Errors and Trafficking Have Declined, but Challenges Remain

GAO-10-956T Published: Jul 28, 2010. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2010.
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is intended to help low-income individuals and families obtain a better diet by supplementing their income with benefits to purchase food. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the states jointly implement SNAP. Participation in the program has risen steadily over the last decade to an all time high of more than 33 million in fiscal year 2009, providing critical assistance to families in need. This testimony discusses GAO's past work on three issues related to ensuring integrity of the program: (1) improper payments to SNAP participants, (2) trafficking of SNAP benefits, and (3) categorical eligibility for certain individuals or households. This testimony is based on prior GAO reports on categorical eligibility (GAO-07-465), payment errors (GAO-05-245), and food stamp trafficking (GAO-07-53), developed through data analyses, case file reviews, site visits, interviews with officials, and a 50- state survey. GAO also updated data where available and collected information on recent USDA actions and policy changes.

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