What measures are taken to prevent SNAP fraud?
The Department has already taken a number of steps to make it easier to catch and punish people who misuse SNAP benefits. The welfare reform act of 1996 included several provisions, originally proposed by USDA, to more closely scrutinize food retailers who apply for SNAP authorization, and to more closely monitor retailers once they are participating in the program. Retailers who violate program rules can face heavy fines, removal from the program, or jail. Individual SNAP recipients who sell their benefits can also be removed from the program.One of the most promising developments in the fight against SNAP fraud has been the use of electronic benefit transfer--EBT--to issue SNAP benefits. EBT uses a plastic card similar to a bank debit card to transfer funds from a SNAP benefits account to a retailer's account. With an EBT card, SNAP customers pay for groceries without any paper coupons changing hands. EBT eliminates paper coupons and creates an electronic record for each transaction that makes fraud easier to detect.All States have now adopted EBT for SNAP issuance, and in some cases for other programs such as USDA's Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, the Federal block-grant program operated by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide cash assistance to needy families.