I began this year by discussing the SNAP Stewardship Solutions Project, our ongoing efforts to further improve Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) integrity. Halfway through the year, we have made significant progress: we are requiring more frequent reviews of higher risk retailers, expanding the definition of fraud to crack down on newer methods of SNAP benefit abuse, and establishing data-sharing agreements to help catch recipients that attempt to commit SNAP fraud.
We are working hard to ensure the taxpayer investment in SNAP is spent wisely, and that those who are eligible for the program receive the correct amount of benefits—not too much, and not too little.
That is why I am pleased to announce that at 96.58 percent, the fiscal year 2012 SNAP payment accuracy rate—the combined measure of benefit overpayments and underpayments to recipients—was the highest in the history of the program.
Last year’s record-high payment accuracy rate reflects our ongoing investment of resources and technical assistance at the State level. We applaud our State partners for their efforts to improve program administration, while still maintaining access to this critical nutrition assistance program for families and young children.
This is a repeating pattern of success. Over the last nine years, the payment accuracy rate has been above 94 percent—originally considered a benchmark of success—and we are consistently improving each year.
But the bottom line is this: any waste or misuse of taxpayer dollars is too much. The American taxpayer has every right to expect, and we are striving to deliver, a program that is administered wisely so that SNAP benefits do what they are intended to do—provide healthy food to families.
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 web page.