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USDA announces ‘unprecedented’ total of food stamp payment errors

Jul 7


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In a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), it has been revealed that an “unprecedented” number of errors were made in the payment of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits between 2020 and 2022.

“The first state-by-state set of payment error rates coming out of the pandemic reflects the challenging circumstances under which the state agencies were operating, and from which many are continuing to recover,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Stacy Dean said in a statement.

These errors affected a significant proportion of SNAP beneficiaries across the country. However, the report also highlighted that the magnitude of errors varied among states, with some states experiencing larger discrepancies in providing accurate government assistance to their residents.

The USDA report states that approximately 10% of SNAP beneficiaries nationwide were overpaid in government benefits during the specified period. These errors were not limited to overpayments, as a minority of beneficiaries were also underpaid. On average, 9.84% of recipients were overpaid, while close to 2% were underpaid. Consequently, the government’s average error rate in SNAP payments amounted to nearly 12%.

“USDA is committed to supporting states in improving payment accuracy in SNAP to ensure the program effectively and efficiently serves those who need it and promotes good stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” Dean said. “We are doubling down to work with state partners to find ways to decrease payment errors and tackle the issues aggressively at their root cause. Together, we will continue to move toward a stronger, efficient, more modern future for SNAP and those it serves.”

The state of Alaska stands out as having the highest overpayment rate in the nation, with an alarming 56% of SNAP recipients being overpaid. Similarly, in Maryland, almost one in every three SNAP recipients received overpayments.

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