A new report has revealed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture overpaid food stamp benefits in 10% of cases in 2022.
According to the Washington Times, the overpayment of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits was “largely due to unintentional mistakes” by the government or the households receiving the benefits.
The mistake came because either the government incorrectly determined that certain households were eligible for food stamps or overestimated the amount of money that was owed to these households. Another 2% of errors were underpayments.
“Payment errors are largely due to unintentional mistakes by either the state agency or a household that result in a state determining an applicant is eligible when they are not or incorrectly calculating a participant’s benefit amount,” the USDA claimed in a statement.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, the percentage of errors in food stamp payments was lower — only 7.4% in 2019 and 6.8% in 2018. This comparison is especially concerning considering the fact that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has doubled since 2019, skyrocketing to $113.9 billion from $55.6 billion. Food stamps are now being doled out to 41 million Americans at an average payment of $230 per month.
The inaccurate payments were also broken down by state — with Alaska having the highest rate of errors at 57%, and South Dakota having the lowest rate at just under 3%.
The Government Accountability Office has also released data about overpayment across the entire federal government for fiscal year 2022. The shocking amount, $247 billion, is only an estimate — as the government claims that they cannot “determine the full extent to which improper payments occur.”
The government wastes at least $247 Billion in taxpayer money each year.
In 2022, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that improper payments cost the government $247 billion. (This includes payments that were made incorrectly, payments that were made to the…
— Andrew Lokenauth (@FluentInFinance) April 19, 2023
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is defending the inaccurate payments, claiming that not all of them are due to fraud — though they did admit to facing lingering “challenges” from the COVID pandemic that they claim had affected operations.
This is not the first time this year that the government admitted to overpaying with American taxpayer dollars — as the Pentagon recently acknowledged a $6.2 billion overpayment to Ukraine over the last two fiscal years. The supposed “accounting error” resulted in a $3.6 billion shortfall this fiscal year and a $2.6 billion shortfall in fiscal year 2022.
Pentagon has said that an accounting error has provided an extra $6.2 billion dollars for Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/wpVBTWsEOR
— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) June 24, 2023