U.S. Reps. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) and Mike Bost (R-IL) introduced the Snap Back Inaccurate SNAP Payments Act, which would strengthen the integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – commonly referred to as SNAP – by cutting down on overpayments of SNAP benefits. This legislation would increase the accuracy of SNAP payment error rate (PER) calculations by amending the tolerance level from $54 to $0. Currently, USDA only counts overpayments or underpayments that are more than $54 as an error.
This bill would also increase the liability that states will face if they have a comparatively high payment error rate, incentivizing states to improve processes to ensure SNAP is running properly at the state level.
Companion legislation has been introduced by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).
“As a strong, fiscal conservative, I believe that Congress must do everything possible to protect taxpayer dollars from being wasted or fraudulently disbursed. The sad reality is that waste, fraud, and abuse have become commonplace in our federal bureaucracy, weakening our already poor fiscal health and forcing American taxpayers to pick up the tab. That’s wrong and it’s why we need accountability,” said Rep. Feenstra. “SNAP is no exception. Every month, SNAP overpayments account for nearly $1 billion in federal spending. I’m proud to lead the Snap Back Inaccurate SNAP Payments Act to help eliminate waste and promote fiscal responsibility by preventing overpayment of SNAP benefits and safeguarding precious dollars for families in need.”
“We owe it to the American people to be responsible stewards of their taxpayer dollars; and part of that is ensuring that funding for nutrition assistance is going to families who truly need help. We must hold the bureaucrats accountable for reducing spending errors that have contributed to a less effective and efficient SNAP program,” said Rep. Bost. “I’m proud to help lead this legislation because it’s a step forward in restoring good governance.”
“The Snap Back Inaccurate SNAP Payments Act is a straightforward solution to a $1 billion per month problem. When federal agencies give taxpayer funds to those who don’t qualify, trust in government erodes and the reliability of the safety net crumbles,” said Tarren Bragdon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Government Accountability. “I applaud Rep. Feenstra and Sen. Ernst for working to protect resources for the truly needy by forcing state and federal bureaucrats to restore integrity to this area of the food stamp program.”
“The efficacy of SNAP is a literal dinner-table issue and central to the health of many families – it’s the last place we can allow waste, fraud and abuse to linger. Thanks to Rep. Feenstra’s leadership in the U.S. House, this bill is an opportunity to change course and deliver aid where it’s truly needed,” said Adam Andrzejewski, Chief Executive Officer of OpenTheBooks. “The federal government admits it has wasted at least $3 trillion in improper payments since 2004. It’s a stunning amount — and SNAP is a particularly worthy place for reforms because it provides critical nutrition to those in need of assistance. There are tens of thousands of hungry families, yet the feds hand out roughly $1 billion per month in ineligible payments. We cannot stand by and let government bureaucrats mishandle this program while other Americans go hungry.”
As reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, national overpayments of SNAP benefits occurred at a rate of 9.84% and underpayments at a rate of 1.70% in Fiscal Year 2022, for a total error rate of 11.54%. Since Fiscal Year 2019, overpayments have increased by 3.66% in just three years’ time.
You can find legislative text HERE.