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Monday, May 18, 2015

USDA WILL GRANT UP TO $7.5 MILLION FOR TECH TO STOP SNAP TRAFFICKING

FROM:  USDA TECHNOLOGY
USDA Announces New Technology Grants to Combat SNAP Recipient Trafficking
Release No.
FNS 0006-15
Contact:

 WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015 – Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced that up to $7.5 million in technology grants is available to combat recipient benefit abuse and trafficking in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The final date to apply for this funding, which was made possible by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (i.e., the “Farm Bill”), is July 18, 2015.

“Safeguarding the integrity of SNAP is a top priority for USDA,” Concannon said. “That commitment includes ensuring that state government agencies administering SNAP are able to employ the most modern technology to track and root out benefit abuse by recipients.”

SNAP law and regulations require state and local agencies administering the program to maintain fraud prevention efforts and investigate program violations by SNAP recipients. While it occurs relatively infrequently, USDA recognizes that program fraud undermines public confidence in government and jeopardizes the ability of SNAP to serve the tens of millions of struggling families who need it the most, Concannon said.

Competitive grants announced today are designed to deploy new technology, or modernize existing technology that monitors and tracks investigation outcomes of individuals suspected of intentional program violations – with an emphasis on trafficking, the sale of benefits for cash.

           These grants will build on prior USDA initiatives to support on-the-ground efforts to improve outcomes in the prevention, detection, and prosecution of recipient trafficking. USDA awarded just over $5 million in grants to seven states on September 30, 2014 to improve the effectiveness of integrity monitoring efforts and increase the number of investigations of recipients suspected of trafficking SNAP benefits.

SNAP administering agencies in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands are eligible to apply for the grants, which are not to exceed three years. USDA expects to award three grants under this Request for Application by Sept. 30, 2015.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs.