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The Extent of Trafficking in the Food Stamp Program: An Update

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Research Plans
Research type
Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
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PDF Icon Summary (49.53 KB)
File Icon Final Report (75.41 KB)

Food stamps are intended for food. When individuals sell their benefits for cash it violates the spirit and intent of the Food Stamp Program as well as the law. This practice, known as trafficking, diverts food stamps away from their purpose. It reduces intended nutritional benefits and undermines public perceptions of the integrity and utility of the program.

A crucial question, therefore, is the extent to which trafficking exists. Several years ago, a method to calculate data-based estimates of the prevalence of trafficking was developed by USDA. The Extent of Trafficking in the Food Stamp Program used this method to analyze over 11,000 completed undercover investigations of trafficking and gene rate an estimate for calendar year 1993. This report duplicates the precise methodology of the earlier analysis with more than 10,000 new investigations to generate an estimate for the 1996 - 1998 calendar year period.

Page updated: December 15, 2021