GAO - Disqualified Food Stamp Participants
Guide Extra: 08/18/99
(About the GAO)
In a report dated July 8, 1999, the GAO reported over 3,000 persons in four states (California, Illinois, Louisiana, and Texas) who received food stamp benefits during 1997 although improperly counted as members of the recipient household.
The report titled, "Food Stamp Program: Households Collect Benefits for Persons Disqualified for Intentional Program Violations," was prepared by the GAO at the request of the US House Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlatte.
According to the GAO, improper payments to the households reviewed in the report amounted to about $500,000 in food stamp benefits. The report did not attempt to estimate an amount of overpayments received nationwide, but noted that a total of $5.6 billion in food stamps is given to 6.4 million persons in the four states studied alone.
The report attributes about 70 percent of the disqualified participation to deficiencies in the states' processes for removal of disqualified persons from food stamp rolls, while about 30 percent were due to the states' failure to check the USDA database of disqualified persons. However, the GAO also found the USDA's database to be incomplete and to contain errors.
The report concludes that the USDA could better assist states reduce disqualified participation and includes a number of recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture for doing so.
The full GAO report (GAO/RCED-99-180)
can be downloaded in Adobe .pdf format from:
Coming Sunday 8/22/99: Food Stamp Facts -- An article explaining the purpose of the Food Stamp program, the qualification process required to get them, and what can be purchased with them. Watch for it at the top of "In The Spotlight" section.
About the General Accounting Office (GAO)
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receipt and disbursement of public funds, GAO performs audits and evaluations of Government programs and activities.
Created under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (31 U.S.C. 702), the GAO conducts independent audits of government agencies. GAO is under the control and direction of the Comptroller General of the United States, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate for a term of 15 years.