District of Columbia — The U.S. Department of Agriculture released figures showing that the error rate for the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program rose from 6.3% to 6.8% between fiscal year 2017 and 2018. SNAP’s national payment error rate is a measure of both overpayments and underpayments made by all states to program participants.
In response to the report, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue sent out letters to the Governor’s of 15 states that with the highest error rates. Agriculture officials noted that the rate isn’t necessarily a measure of fraud, but a representation of how accurately states are determining participants eligible for the program and issuing the correct amount of benefits.
Brandon Lipps, USDA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, released the following remarks on the report, “Our reforms to the measurement system have allowed us to report reliable rates for a second year. But I am concerned about the increase in errors over last year’s performance, since any error rate in a $60 billion program impacts the bottom line significantly. We are redoubling our efforts to partner with states to reduce errors. As part of this, I am looking to national, regional and state leadership to commit with me to solve these problems.”