Sneak Preview: FNS To Emphasize Fraud Prevention in SNAP Program

April 5, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service). Upcoming Food and Nutrition Service guidance will emphasize that states should take greater steps to limit potential fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General audit evaluated FNS’s oversight of efforts in Florida and New Jersey to uncover fraud by SNAP beneficiaries. The OIG found that FNS did not require the states to use the management reports provided by their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) processors. Management reports are intended to assist the state with program operations and performance and to identify potential fraud by SNAP recipients for further investigation. After reviewing the reports from the two states, the OIG identified more than 2,600 questionable transactions during one month, totaling more than $181,700.

In addition, FNS did not establish an effective review process to periodically assess the states’ fraud detection efforts. The agency relied on management evaluation (ME) reviews, which cover FNS-approved SNAP target areas to measure state compliance with program policies and procedures. The ME reviews did not address the efficiency of the states’ fraud detection units. FNS relied on the information states reported in FNS’ annual state activity report, which the OIG determined to be of “questionable accuracy in some cases.” For example, although New Jersey state officials reported to FNS that it issued 14 waivers in which clients signed disqualification consent agreements, county reports to the state showed that 125 waivers were issued.

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