A comprehensive, detailed report about fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has just been published by the Government Accountability Institute (GAI). Upon reading it you will find that UCOWF and its members are mentioned throughout the report.
This is a significant publication; it stands as one of those rare instances where a report lays out well-documented information about a large government program, told from an independent point of view rather than a self-serving product published by the government entity that administers it.
A journalist-researcher with GAI spoke with many of the investigators and administrators attending the 2017 UCOWF Conference in Orlando. He also attended workshops to listen to the information presented by program officials and the questions or feedback they received from the attendees. He took what he heard back to the staff at the GAI. For over a year, they dug into Inspector General reports, listened to testimony given to congressional committees, researched news articles, and read materials published by the USDA. They obtained workload data from state officials and developed some very timely conclusions.
This report goes far beyond the anecdotal stories and issues that our members frequently raise with program administrators or discuss among ourselves. It is an in-depth look at a safety net program whose annual cost to the taxpayer exceeds the combined annual budgets of Homeland Security, the EPA, and the US Treasury. It is the result of a critical examination of the role that program integrity plays in the administration of the SNAP program. It is a bright light shined on the SNAP program’s soft rules, disincentives, ineffective internal controls, and the glaring lack of interest given to protecting it from fraud or holding those who commit fraud accountable.
This report also delves into the funding of criminal and terror operations. It explains the role SNAP trafficking continues to play in funding organizations that ultimately target Americans on the battlefield and at home.
The conclusions are what most UCOWF members already realize. At a cost to US taxpayers of over $68 billion (in 2017), the SNAP program is a huge, expensive program with more fraud, waste, and abuse than the public realizes. This exists because properly incentivizing states to prevent and investigate SNAP fraud would work at odds with expanding an already mammoth benefit program. Program integrity has repeatedly taken a distant back seat to program expansion. This report clearly bears that out and exposes the terrible consequences of that happening.
Read the report HERE and share it with others.