USDA commits to fight food stamp fraud
On Dec. 6, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced a new range of aggressive tactics to further improve program integrity of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as food stamps. The announcement is part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste which highlights efforts to root out waste, fraud and abuse so that federal dollars are invested wisely. The tactics announced by USDA underscore an unprecedented approach to combat trafficking – the use of SNAP benefits for anything other than the purchase of food from authorized retailers, including the sale or exchange of benefits in SNAP.
Although the trafficking rate has been driven down significantly over the last two decades – from about 4 cents on the dollar in 1993 to about 1 cent in 2006-08 – USDA has increased its efforts to reduce trafficking by working with state agencies and state-of-the-art technologies. USDA awarded a ten-year contract to SRA International, Inc. to develop the next generation of its fraud detection system.