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The Effects of Simplified Reporting on Food Stamp Payment Accuracy

Last Published: 05/21/2014

One of the more widely adopted State options allowed by the 2002 Farm Bill is simplified reporting – taken by more than 40 States. Simplified reporting was expected to improve program access and reduce error rates by limiting the number of interim changes in circumstances reported by clients and acted on by States. Using Food Stamp Quality Control data from fiscal year 2000, this analysis suggests that the simplified reporting policies adopted by States in 2004 could have lowered error rates by 1.2 to 1.5 percentage points. If all States had adopted policies to maximize the impact of simplified reporting, the payment error rate might have been lowered another 0.7 percentage points. Implementation choices and differences in the distribution of errors result in wide variation in the impacts on error rates among States.