SNAP is the cornerstone of USDA's nutrition assistance programs. It began in its modern form in 1961 but has its origins in the Food Stamp Plan to help the needy in the 1930's. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net and provides nutrition assistance benefits via an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to millions of low-income people. These benefits help supplement household food budgets so recipients can purchase more healthy food. FNS works in partnership with state agencies in the administration of SNAP.
While the vast majority of recipients are eligible and use their benefits as intended, there are some who violate program rules. Program violations may include a number of activities, such as falsifying income or identity in order to be eligible for benefits they may not be entitled to, or by using benefits for anything other than their intended purpose. Program violations can result in severe penalties, such as criminal punishment and permanent disqualification from the program. SNAP has zero tolerance for fraud and continues to work with its state partners to implement aggressive measures to improve program integrity.
From 2014 to 2017, FNS partnered with 10 state agencies to pilot new strategies and improve the use of analytics to more effectively detect potential fraud, improve administration, and increase oversight. The lessons learned and ideas tested during these pilots led to the development of the SNAP Fraud Framework. The SNAP Fraud Framework is a collection of procedures, innovative ideas and promising practices to help state agencies improve fraud prevention, detection and investigation techniques and processes. This framework and its supporting documents are designed to support states as they develop new efforts or improve on existing ones to prevent, detect, and investigate fraud. There is no simple solution to combat fraud and each state may require a different approach to improve program integrity. The SNAP Fraud Framework acknowledges the need for state flexibility by offering a menu of options for states to implement as they work to improve program operations and efforts.
The SNAP Fraud Framework is intended to share best practices with personnel directly administering and enforcing the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008. It includes sensitive fraud detection and investigative techniques and therefore has not been shared beyond FNS and SNAP state agencies, the only eligible applicants for this grant opportunity. State agencies that do not have access to the SNAP Fraud Framework should contact their FNS regional office.