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Food Stamp Overpayments: Households in Different States Collect Benefits for the Same Individuals

RCED-98-228 Published: Aug 06, 1998. Publicly Released: Sep 08, 1998.
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on ineligible individuals who are improperly participating in the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Stamp Program, focusing on: (1) determining how many individuals were included as members of food stamp households in more than one state during 1996 and the estimated value of the benefits that were improperly issued to those households; (2) determining how these individuals could be improperly included without being detected; and (3) identifying an option for detecting or preventing future food stamp overpayments caused by such duplicate participation.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture In the absence of a comprehensive national information system on participants in all public assistance programs, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), to consider establishing a central system to help ensure that individuals participating in the Food Stamp Program are not being improperly included as household members in more than one state concurrently. As part of this effort, FNS should conduct a feasibility study to identify options and provide a cost-benefit estimate for each option.
Closed – Implemented
FNS has addressed and completed this recommendation.

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Computer matchingEligibility determinationsFood relief programsManagement information systemsOverpaymentsProgram abusesSocial security benefitsState-administered programsWelfare benefitsMedicaid