Food Stamp Fraud

Chris Edwards

The Biden–GOP debt deal adjusted work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) but did not cut the program’s spending. Cuts are needed because SNAP outlays have exploded from $63 billion in 2019 to an estimated $145 billion in 2023. Congress will have another chance at reform later this year when the program is reauthorized as part of the farm bill.

One chronic failing of SNAP is that billions of dollars are lost through fraud and abuse. Individuals, businesses, and organized gangs steal benefits. The switch from paper food stamps to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards two decades ago created new avenues for abuse.

My new article for National Review discusses 10 types of fraud and abuse in SNAP.

Card skimming has become a particularly severe problem in recent years. EBT numbers and PINs are a great target for theft because the cards do not have chips.

SNAP is difficult to police because it includes 250,000 retailers and 42 million recipients, who have changing income levels and other factors that affect eligibility and benefit levels. And because the federal government funds SNAP benefits, state administrators have little reason to minimize the fraud and abuse.

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