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Aggressively Fighting Fraud in the SNAP Program

USDA is serious about good stewardship of tax payer dollars and is doing its part to support the Obama Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste. That means, among other things, making sure Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are used by recipients and retailers the way the program was intended.

USDA has just issued a final regulation that updates the legal definition of trafficking. Put simply, recipients of SNAP benefits can now be kicked out of the program for indirectly obtaining cash for benefits.  This includes activities like so-called “water dumping,” which involves the purchasing of beverages in deposit containers, wasting the contents, and returning the containers for the cash deposit.  Such actions undermine this important program and will not be tolerated.

This regulation is but one of many steps being taken to maintain SNAP program integrity and allow States to move swiftly to punish recipients who violate the rules. Make no mistake, incidences of fraud in SNAP remain very low, but we must continue to take steps to prevent and address any level of abuse in the program.

In addition to the trafficking rule, we’re seeking comments from the public on a new proposal that would authorize USDA to immediately suspend retailers suspected of flagrant trafficking violations from receiving SNAP payments.  If USDA determines that a retailer is a flagrant trafficker, we would immediately suspend its redemptions concurrently with notification of charges thereby allowing us to hold funds that might ultimately be forfeited by the store if the disqualification is upheld.

As with recipient fraud, incidences of retailer abuse in SNAP are very low. The vast majority of businesses that participate in SNAP do play by the rules. But USDA continues to strengthen sanctions against the few who try to take advantage of the program. Last year, USDA permanently disqualified 1,387 stores for trafficking in SNAP benefits.

For more information about what USDA is doing to combat fraud in SNAP, and how to personally help us in our efforts, please visit our Stop SNAP fraud website. To comment on the proposed regulation, please visit Regulations.gov.

5 Responses to “Aggressively Fighting Fraud in the SNAP Program”

  1. chris says:

    How about pre-made foods that are available for SNAP? And objects that are 50% percent food such as Easter baskets?

  2. J. says:

    How about buying pet food or foods that could be used for pet food? Or families saying they need “food stamps”, but have cash money for cigarets, beer, fireworks, fishing tackle, pet food for 15 cats, and gas for their 4-wheel monster truck. Are needs assessed on an annual basis AT the home location? USDA should be doing HOME visits on those who are saying their need SNAP, WIC, and other handouts. And, dare I ask about random drug testing to receive such benefits?

  3. Liberty says:

    We’ve seen a consumer sacking the supply for soda on sale, from a major retail grocer and use SNAP…cause “its a better price for their own market”!! How does that serve the average tax-payer??

  4. Janet O'Dell says:

    Are you really allowed to use SNAP soda. Doesn’t SNAP mean Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. There is absolutely no nutrition in soda.

  5. Sean says:

    oh snap…come on, no one else thought of this?

    seriously, I really appreciated programs such as WIC when I had little ones, but rules (long time ago) said I could not utlize any EBT or food stamp program because I was in the Army…I just feel that there were many abusers back then that did not deserve those benefits

    not saying I was special, but we were struggling when I was in the Army, single dad SSG/E-6 with two kids was a tough and unheard of job

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