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What GAO Found Overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by states, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) programs served about 0.5 percent of the approximately 43.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Stamp Program is intended to help low-income individuals and families obtain a better diet by supplementing their income with benefits to purchase food.
Every year, food stamp recipients exchange hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits for cash instead of food with retailers across the country, a practice known as trafficking. From 2000 to 2005, the Food Stamp Program has grown from $15 billion to $29 billion in benefits.
In fiscal year 2003, the federal Food Stamp Program made payment errors totaling about $1.4 billion in benefits, or about 7 percent of the total $21.4 billion in benefits provided to a monthly average of 21 million low-income participants.
Eligible working families are believed to participate in the Food Stamp Program at a lower rate than the eligible population as a whole. As a result, many federal, state, and local officials believe the program is not living up to its potential as a component of the nation's work support system.
Since the late 1990s, many funding changes have been made to the Food Stamp E&T Program. In 1997, legislation required states to spend 80 percent of their funds on participants who lose their food stamp benefits if they do not meet work requirements within a limited time frame.