SNAP, the nation’s food stamp program, provided a record $74.6 billion in benefits to needy Americans in Fiscal Year 2012 and payed out $2 billion too much, according to the annual quality control report for FY 2012, the most recent year for which data is available.
And only in Washington could that $2 billion in over payments be viewed as a good thing; the lack of accountability is shocking.
Combining the $2,069,402,427 in over payments with the $484,885,314 in underpayments for fiscal 2012 yields a “payment error rate” of 3.42 percent. “This remains the lowest national payment error rate in the history of SNAP,” the report noted. The 3.42 percent payment error rate is the sum of the FY 2012 over payment rate — 2.77 percent — and the underpayment rate –0.65 percent.
So rather than focus on eliminating the error of over payment which equates to $2 BILLION dollars, they justify it?
Since it’s up to local agencies to certify households for SNAP benefits, they are directly responsible for operating the program. The report says it is up to the states to “ultimately make the commitment to conduct accurate and efficient program operations.”
There is considerable financial incentive for states to get their error rates down. According to the USDA, in Fiscal 2012, a total of $48 million in performance bonuses was shared among “high-performing states” in various categories.
For example, in FY 2012, nine states received millions of dollars for having the best payment error rates. They include Florida (which received a bonus of $8,072,238); Illinois ($4,092,147); Virginia ($2,020,886); Louisiana ($1,945,592); Alabama ($1,897,845); South Carolina ($1,892,369); Wisconsin ($1,842,047); South Dakota ($296,973); and Alaska ($265,714).