Republicans often like to pretend problems are worse than they actually are in order to justify cutting programs that are vital to many people, or to restrict basic rights, like voting. One of the continued Republican talking points in this regard is how corrupt the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is.
As is often the case, however, reality takes umbrage with the Republican delusions:
The percentage of SNAP (formerly food stamp) benefit dollars issued to ineligible households or to eligible households in excessive amounts fell for the seventh consecutive year in 2013 to 2.61 percent, newly released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data show. That’s the lowest nationaloverpayment rate since USDA began the current system of measuring error rates in 1981. Theunderpayment error rate fell to 0.6 percent, also the lowest on record. Thecombined payment error rate — that is, the sum of theoverpayment andunderpayment error rates — fell to an all-time low of 3.2 percent. Less than 1 percent of SNAP benefits go to households that are ineligible. In other words, more than 99 percent of SNAP benefitsare issued to eligible households.If one subtracts underpayments (which reduce federal costs) from overpayments, the net loss to the government last year from errors was about 2 percent of benefits. In comparison, 16.9 percent of taxes legally due in 2006 (the most recently studied year) went unpaid, according to Internal Revenue Service estimates
SNAP, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, has one of the most “rigorous systems of any public benefit program to ensure payment accuracy,” and the quality control system is one of the best of any public benefit program:
SNAP quality control system requires states each month to select a representative sample of SNAP cases (totaling about 50,000 cases nationally over the year) and have independent state reviewers check the accuracy of the state’s eligibility and benefit decisions within federal guidelines. Federal officials then re-review a subsample of the cases to ensure accuracy in the error rates. USDA annually releases state and national error rates based on these reviews. States are subject to fiscal penalties if their error rates are persistently above the national average. The quality control process also is used for awarding certain performance bonuses, as discussed below.
And of the rampant fraud and abuse in the system, the CBPP said:
SNAP error rates declined nearly every year from 1998 to 2008 and have continued to improve since then, despite the large growth in SNAP caseloads during 2008-2013, which primarily resulted from the recession and weak economic recovery. Between 2002 (when new rules for penalizing states with high error rates took effect) and 2013, the number of states with combined error rates over 10 percent fell from nine to zero and the number of states from 6 to 10 percent fell from 31 to six; meanwhile, the number of states with combined error rates under 6 percent, which prior to 2003 was the standard for enhanced funding for outstanding performance, jumped from 13 to 47.
And only 1% of the SNAP benefits that are “trafficked” — that is, they’re sold for money. Of course, in the Republican mind,
black people poor people eating anything other than stuff they got from a church drive is fraud and testament to an “inner city culture problem.”
h/t Daily Kos
More on SNAP from AATTP
- ‘Let ‘Em Starve!’ Mother Of Four Sees SNAP Benefit Cut From $500 To $16!
- Farm Bill Makes Koch Bros. Billions, Cuts $90 a Month From Struggling Families on Food Stamps
- BREAKING: GOP/Tea Party Cuts $39B From Food Stamps, 3.8 Million Americans Will Now Go Hungry!
- Fox “News” Creep: Liberals ‘won’t be happy until we give terrorists food stamps’