Ohio State Auditor Appears Before House Committee to Discuss SNAP Fraud
Section: Washington Update

Last Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss ways in which program integrity measures can be improved within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Members heard from a panel of witnesses who discussed the tools used to report on quality control measures, the differences between error rates and fraud, what factors determine the reported rates, and how these measurements are used to better the program. This hearing is a continuation of the committee’s top-to-bottom review, known as the Past, Present, and Future of SNAP.
Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) stated after the hearing that:
“Today we examined ways in which SNAP can be improved for the millions of Americans who rely on food assistance… Two ways in which we hold SNAP accountable to the taxpayer is by requiring states to report on how effectively they disseminate benefits and administer the program, as well as an assessment of dollars being used illegally. As we continue this review, it will be imperative we understand this data so we are able to make meaningful improvements to SNAP.”
Testifying before the committee were Jessica Shahin, SNAP associate administrator at the Food and Nutrition Service at the Department of Agriculture; Kay Brown, director of education, workforce, and income security at the U.S. Government Accountability Office; and Dave Yost, Ohio’s auditor of state. In his prepared remarks for the hearing, Mr. Yost told the committee that:
“Recently, our team audited EBT card usage data to identify indicators of fraud or misuse. The main goal of the audit was not to find cases of fraud, but to search for structural weaknesses in the program that heighten risk. Our findings lead me to conclude that there are likely millions of dollars in fraud in Ohio's $2.5 billion program…[SNAP] Recipients can use their benefit card in other states, and we expected to see usage in our neighboring states. But we didn’t expect to find usage in states as far away as Florida, Texas and Minnesota. We found $28.7 million dollars spent outside of Ohio, more than a third of it spent in far-flung states. Are these recipients living in other states, or selling benefits, or double-dipping?”
Click to find testimony from all panelists, as well as the archived video.