Better Wage-Matching Systems and Procedures Would Enhance Food Stamp Program Integrity

Gao ID: RCED-84-112 September 11, 1984

GAO reviewed states' wage-matching activities in the Food Stamp Program to determine whether the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) and states' wage-matching efforts have effectively addressed the benefit overissuance problem. GAO also analyzed the effectiveness of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Program matching operations on a smaller scale.

GAO found that underreporting of beneficiary earnings is the most significant cause of food stamp overissuances, which currently are about $1 billion annually. Although congressional requirements to match wages with external sources can be an effective method for improving the program's integrity, GAO found that wage-matching could be made more effective and efficient through the use of automated procedures, broader program coverage, and effective tolerances in pursuing wage differences. Active federal involvement in guiding and assisting states to improve their matching systems would benefit not only the Food Stamp Program, but also the AFDC Program. Thorough follow-up actions should ensure that appropriate measures are taken to identify and recover overissuances. GAO noted, however, that follow-up action in most of the cases it reviewed was either not taken, incomplete, or inappropriate, and the potential benefits from wage matching were not fully achieved.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Brian P. Crowley Team: General Accounting Office: Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division Phone: (202) 512-9450

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.