Allegations of fraud and abuse have long-plagued SNAP and have been used by lawmakers in Washington to argue that the program has spiraled out of control.
Americans receiving food stamps were caught selling and bartering their benefits online for art, housing and cash, according to a new federal report that investigates fraud in the nation’s largest nutrition support program.
Complicating the situation is the fact states around the country are having trouble tracking and prosecuting the crimes because their enforcement budgets have been slashed despite the rapidly-rising number of food stamp recipients, according to the Government Accountability Office report.
Under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, 47 million people have been awarded $76 billion in benefits. State agencies are responsible for addressing SNAP recipient fraud under the guidance and monitoring of the Food and Nutrition Service.
“Such rapid program growth can increase the potential for fraud unless appropriate agency controls are in place to help minimize these risks,” the investigators said in their report.