Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) provides assistance to low income families to pay for food through cash supplements (USDA, 2016). However, some individuals use the SNAP program to engage in fraud. Fraudulent use of SNAP includes exchange of the SNAP program benefits for cash, lying on application to get the benefits and use of the program to buy goods or items that are not groceries. The Dearborn, MI incident is an example of such a fraudulent use of SNAP program (WXYZ.COM, 2012).
Steps the U.S Government can Take to Stop Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program Fraud
The federal government should prohibit food stamp payments to illegal immigrants until such individuals show prove that they are legally mandated to live and work in the country. In addition, the government should monitor the electronic transactions of the retailers that are authorized to accept the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program debit cards. Monitoring of the electronic transaction data of such retailers will help to detect any anomaly in purchase traffic and thus allowing for investigations to be done determining possible abuse of the SNAP program. Finally, the government should conduct drug testing for the recipients of the food stamps benefits to prevent possibility of misuse of the program by the drug dependent individuals.
The Actions that the Government has Taken against the Dearborn, MI Fraud
The USDA has been actively working to prevent the SNAP stamp benefits fraud. The government has increased surveillance on the transactions of recipients of food stamp benefits and terminating the authorized retailers, who are found engaging in Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program fraud (Rector & Bradley, 2012). In addition, the government is developing a system that validates and authorizes any transactions that are done by beneficiaries of food stamps program.
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