A report released by the General Accounting Office (GAO) shows that efficiency in management of the federal Food Stamp program has reached its best level in history, and that continued improvements are expected when new data is released by USDA. In addition, the GAO report showed a significant reduction in the number of ineligible families receiving food stamps.
The report would seem to contradict recent criticism claiming high rates of fraud, waste, and abuse in the Food Stamp Program.
Among the findings of the GAO report were the following:
The Food Stamp Program error rate represents the combined total of the food stamp overpayment rate as well as the underpayment rate that is, benefits due to eligible recipients that they did not receive. If the underpayments were subtracted from the overpayments, arguably a more accurate way of measuring total food stamp benefits paid in error, the aggregate food stamp payments overpaid would equal $760 million for fiscal year 2003, just 3.5 percent of total food stamp benefits.
The full GAO Report, Food Stamp Program: States Have Made Progress Reducing Payment Errors, and Further Challenges Remain (GAO-05-245), may be viewed (pdf) at: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05245.pdf
About the General Accounting Office
The General Accounting Office is the investigative arm of Congress. Charged with examining matters relating to the 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, 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.