It’s been quite a while since I wrote about welfare and benefit fraud. It is a very interesting topic. While so many people have stories about benefit fraud, when you dive deep into the facts the results are very interesting.
In fact if you go back and read my original post you can compare the newer SNAP error rate data to what I previously published and see the overpayment and underpayment rates continue to decline.
As the latest report says, “The overwhelming majority of SNAP errors that do occur result from mistakes by recipients, eligibility workers, data entry clerks, or computer programmers, not dishonesty or fraud by recipients. In addition, states have reported that almost 60 percent of the dollar value of overpayments and almost 90 percent of the dollar value of underpayments were their fault, rather than recipients.’ Much of the rest of overpayments resulted from innocent errors by households facing a program with complex rules.” – Source
Whenever someone says to me they know someone who lied or gamed the situation and received benefits they were not entitled to, I always ask them the same question, “So what happened when you turned them in?” To which people respond they did not and ask why would they. [Insert head slap.]
Rather than rely on stories, I rely on data. And the data shows SNAP fraud is not a major problem.
I keep my eyes open for stories about SNAP and other benefit fraud so the news out recently got my attention. It seems the Department of Justice and USDA who is responsible for the program, finally nailed a Food Stamp SNAP cheat. But it’s not who you’d guess.
It seems the entity caught was none other than the State of Wisconsin. The Department of Justice announced, “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) has agreed to pay the United States $6,991,905 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act in its administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Department of Justice announced today.” – Source
This was following the State of Virginia paying up as well. The DOJ said, “On April 7, the Virginia Department of Social Services agreed to pay over $7 million to resolve its liability associated with the use of Julie Osnes Consulting to improperly reduce its reported error rate.”