Food stamp usage is way down under President Trump, thanks to the booming economy. Unfortunately, food stamp fraud is still common and the latest figures are downright shocking.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
Report: Widespread National Food Stamp Fraud Totals at Least $1 Billion, Could Be as High as $4.7 Billion
According to a new report produced by the Government and Accountability Office (GAO), at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits are “trafficked annually,” meaning they are fraudulently used. The extent of the fraud is uncertain, the GAO warns, estimating the abuse of the program could be as high as $4.7 billion.
About 20 million lower-income households receive benefits from the $64 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, to buy food. But GAO found that instead of being used for food, many stores are defrauding the program by “selling” cash instead of food.
“For example, a store might give a person $50 in exchange for $100 in benefits – then pocket the difference,” GAO explains.
The Food Nutrition Service (FNS) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees SNAP and is responsible for authorizing and overseeing retailers.
The fraud, known as “retailer trafficking,” costs taxpayers at least $1 billion. However, the real cost could be “anywhere from $960 million to $4.7 billion,” the GAO adds.
Texas is looking into a new way to deal with this.
Bills would require photos of food stamp recipients on Texas EBT cards
Texas lawmakers are targeting fraud involving the state’s food stamp program with two bills that would require photographs of the recipients on their government-issued cards.
Both House Bill 1250, filed by Beaumont Republican Rep. Dade Phelan, and Senate Bill 671, filed by Conroe Republican Sen. Brandon Creighton, would add the photo and name of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to their Lone Star Cards and place a greater emphasis on reporting instances of food stamp fraud.
“It’s a problem I see in my community every day,” Phelan said. “There are individuals who take advantage of a program that’s designed for the most vulnerable Texans, and I want to make sure those taxpayer resources go to the people who actually need them.”
Lone Star Cards — also referred to as EBT cards, short for electronic benefit transfer — operate much like debit cards at the checkout stand and are refilled by the state on a monthly basis. As with users of bank-issued debit cards, EBT card users get PIN numbers to authorize purchases. The two bills would also add the state’s food stamp fraud hotline number to all Lone Star Cards.
Maybe other states should look into following Texas’s lead. Something has to be done to stop this crime.