USDA continues to crack down those who defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and announced several new strategies to improve the nation’s primary program that offers food assistance to the needy.
SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, is delivered in Ohio through the “Direction Card,” managed by the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services.
The new tools in fraud fighters toolbox are primarily aimed at retailers and online fraud.
“USDA has a zero tolerance policy for SNAP fraud,” said Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary. “These additional measures reaffirm our ongoing commitment to ensuring these dollars are spent as intended–helping millions of people in need get back on solid economic footing.”
The retailer sanctions proposal allows USDA to not only permanently disqualify a retailer who traffics, but also assess a monetary penalty in addition to the disqualification. Financial penalties would be proportional to the amount of SNAP business the store is conducting, which will help ensure that the financial punishment more closely fits the crime. Currently, when a retailer is found guilty of fraud or abuse, USDA can either disqualify the retailer from participating in SNAP, or issue a financial penalty, but not both.
Today’s announcement includes new requirements for States to take specific actions that would catch fraud and abuse on the front end and ensure that ineligible people do not participate in the program. The new standards strengthen integrity by giving States an additional tool to identify cases that may require further investigation and review when an applicant or recipient is found in a Federal database.
These announcements are part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste designed to fight fraud and abuse in Federal programs. For more information about USDA efforts to combat fraud, visit the Stop SNAP fraud website.
USDA continues to work with local, state and federal partners to root out fraud, waste and abuse in SNAP and ensure the integrity of our nation’s most important food assistance program. Recent actions include:
- Sending letters to the CEOs of Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook and Twitter to reiterate the need to help prevent the illegal sale or purchase of SNAP benefits online;
- Proposing a rule to provide States the option to require recipients to make contact with the state when there have been an excessive number of requests for EBT card replacements;
- Increasing documentation required for high-risk stores applying to redeem SNAP benefits;
- Continuing to notify state social service agencies and federal agency partners about violators to better protect our public programs. This includes information on program recipients with suspicious transactions at stores that have been sanctioned for trafficking so that the recipients can be further investigated by States.