You want to ensure your tax dollars are used properly. So does FNS. That is why we are continually working to improve federal administration and oversight of our programs. We undertake these efforts in order to ensure that resources are spent properly, effectively, efficiently, and as intended. When we learn of potential problems, we move quickly to act on what we learn. We did just that for some delivery route vendors whose behaviors raised suspicion.
In 2018, FNS used data analytics to gain insight on which delivery route retailers were more likely to be skirting the law. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) did a thorough review with Office of the Inspector General, and using data we gathered, FNS acted to strengthen the already robust authorization and reauthorization process for delivery route retailers most at-risk of fraud. These enhanced processes are weeding out the bad actors.
It is important to say that not all delivery route vendors are bad. In fact, many people are served well by legitimate delivery route retailers. They provide a critical service to rural SNAP participants by bringing food to purchase to the household. But we must act to ensure that the rules are followed so that the public can trust that SNAP is run with the utmost integrity. This initiative is part of that effort.
“The USDA takes program integrity seriously. We always seek to ensure the highest integrity in program implementation. As part of that commitment, last year, when FNS discovered some potentially ‘bad apples’ among mobile vendors in SNAP, we took immediate action to ensure retailers are operating within the program rules,” said Brandon Lipps, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “FNS is swiftly removing the retailers who weren’t following program rules and made enhancements to the retailer reauthorization process.”
We will continue to use this strategy to protect taxpayer dollars while continuing to ensure that SNAP participants have access to retailers that serve them well. We also encourage members of the public who suspect SNAP retailer fraud to report what they see through USDA’s Hotline – (800) 424-9121 – or the online message portal at www.usda.gov/oig/hotline.htm.
Americans have a right to expect their government to manage taxpayer investments in nutrition assistance wisely. That’s why we make integrity safeguards a central part of our daily operations - they are critical to earning and keeping public confidence which makes these programs possible. This is at the heart of our mission to do right and feed everyone.