WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced over $5.5 million in grants to state partners as part of ongoing efforts to enhance the program integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). USDA is providing $5 million in SNAP Fraud Framework Implementation Grants to combat recipient fraud as well as more than half a million in Income Verification Grants to help states ensure SNAP households receive the accurate amount of SNAP benefits.
“USDA’s commitment to improving the integrity of SNAP is never ending, and states are crucial partners in that effort,” said Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “The grants announced today will foster new and expanded strategies for reducing fraud and payment errors, protecting taxpayer dollars and ensuring public confidence in this program.”
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) awarded the SNAP Fraud Framework Implementation Grants to support nine state agency projects:
- District of Columbia Department of Human Services
- Maine Department of Health and Human Services
- Maryland Department of Human Services
- Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
- Rhode Island Office of Internal Audit
- South Carolina Department of Social Services
- South Dakota Department of Social Services
- Texas Health and Human Services Commission and Office of Inspector General
- Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
These two-year grants will fund projects that support the implementation of the SNAP Fraud Framework – a collection of procedures, innovative ideas, and best practices provided to state agencies in May 2018. FNS created the SNAP Fraud Framework to improve state efforts to detect, investigate, and prevent SNAP recipient fraud.
In addition, FNS awarded $561,000 in non-competitive grants to evaluate the use of automated income data sources to verify participant income in three states:
- Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
- New Mexico Human Services Department
- Wyoming Department of Family Services
In fiscal year 2019, more than 40% of SNAP payment errors were related to inaccurate information regarding a household’s earned income, salaries, and wages. These grants will improve states’ access to payroll and wage data sources, addressing the root causes of these errors. Specifically, the three grantees will use funds to evaluate their use of automated, third-party payroll data sources – such as The Work Number – to verify a household’s income when determining if they are eligible for SNAP and, if so, the amount of benefits they should receive. Automated income data sources are a valuable tool for improving payment accuracy and also reduce application processing times and administrative burden for states. FNS will use the information gathered through these grants to inform the design and implementation of pilot projects on the expanded use of automated income data sources to improve SNAP program integrity.
FNS takes its responsibility to be good stewards of American tax dollars very seriously. FNS is continually working to improve administration and oversight of SNAP and provide states with the resources and tools they need to operate programs with integrity.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy. Follow us on Twitter at @USDANutrition.
For more articles concerning food access, click here.