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USDA says it overpaid 10% of food stamp benefits in 2022 as program doubled from 2019

Government Accountability Office estimates improper payments governmentwide were $247 billion in fiscal 2022.

Published: July 4, 2023 10:55pm

"Largely due to unintentional mistakes" by the government or households, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it overpaid Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in 10% of cases, The Washington Times reports.

The government either wrongly determined households were eligible for the program better known as food stamps or overestimated how much they were due, while 2% were deemed underpayments. The total rate of under- and overpayments was lower before the COVID-19 pandemic: 7.4% in 2019 and 6.8% in 2018.

States varied widely in how accurate their payments were, with Alaska the worst at overpayment with 57% and South Dakota the best at under 3%.

The program has also doubled since 2019, reaching $113.9 billion from $55.6 billion. It now covers 41 million Americans with an average payment of $230 per month.

The Government Accountability Office also released figures Friday of overpayment across the federal government in fiscal 2022, $247 billion, while cautioning the figure is an estimate because the government cannot "determine the full extent to which improper payments occur."

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