Welfare fraud is a bigger problem than want you to believe.
Food Stamp benefits costed $74.1 billion in 2014 and supplied roughly 46.5 million Americans with benefits, which comes out to an average of $125.35 for each person per month in food assistance. Even a fraud rate of under 5% amounts to billions in wasted funds. The most popular method of food stamp fraud isn’t fraudulently claiming benefits, it’s recipients trading in their cards for a fraction of their face value for cash.
Luckily, the government has actually made some wise steps in counteracting that kind of fraud. Back in April, the USDA passed a rule that allows states the option to require SNAP recipients to make contact with the state when there have been an excessive number of requests for EBT card replacements in a year. Requesting excessive replacement cards can indicate that a client is exchanging SNAP cards for cash or other prohibited items.
On the other hand, it doesn’t take many people to do millions of dollars worth of damage when the system is abused in a major manner. In a recent story out of Baltimore, fourteen people were arrested in raids that related to a total of $16 million in food stamp fraud.