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Fraud and the SNAP Program

On November 7th, I enjoyed moderating Front Page Focus, my signature panel, at EBT the Next Generation, the premier conference dedicated to exploring electronic-benefits transfer applications and technology.  This was my 17th Front Page Focus in the 19 years of the conference.

This year, Front Page Focus delved into the issue of fraud  in the SNAP (nee food stamp) Program.

To provide a 360 degree, non-partisan, factual examination of the topic I put together a panel consisting of a representatives of the Office of Public Benefits Integrity of the Florida Department of Children and Families, which  uses technology like data analytics to find patterns of fraud in benefit programs, the Electronic Funds Transfer Association, a trade association with a long history of supporting EBT in the SNAP program, and the Food Research and Action Center, group that lobbies on behalf of participants in nutrition programs and other anti-hunger issues, and Xerox State and Local Solutions, a major supplier of EBT services to state governments. 

Topics we covered included:

  • How serious a problem is fraud in the SNAP program. Answers ranged from “A single dollar lost to fraud is a dollar to much” to “Stories about fraud represent a small fraction of the total amount of benefits issued.

    • The anti-fraud technology baked into EBT systems. These include constant electronic monitoring of retail sales made with SNAP benefits. 

      • What state and federal lawmakers are saying about fraud in the SNAP Program.

        • The interest of State agencies in anti-fraud technology.