Food Stamps: Farm Bill 2012
According to the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Chairwomen, US Senator Debbie Stabenow, approximately 16 million jobs depend on the success of American agriculture. The US Senate Committee on agriculture was sanctioned in 1825, well before the food stamp program was delivered. As we mentioned in our previous post, there has been corruption in the food stamp program as early as 1939. In present years the committee has also become vital in representing the farmers and providers of agriculture when it pertains to the Food Stamp Program, formally known as Supplement and Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Senator Stabenow recently co-authored The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, which focuses on buckling down and eliminating waste of funds by reigning in on spending. The strategies listed in the bill include strengthening risk management, consolidating existing programs and to reign in on food assistance abuse. This is the portion of the bill that interests us, here at Agilence Inc. The US Senate Committee plans to address the following key issues:
- Retailers and recipients participating in benefit trafficking
- Overpayment of benefits
- Misuse of the program by unqualified recipients.
The committee’s aim is to create transparency and increase efficiency and effectiveness of the program. They have the responsibility of spending the taxpayer dollars appropriately and show accountability. This is why here at Agilence Inc, which now provides a Food Stamp (SNAP) and Voucher (WIC) compliance service, we are able to insure proper monitoring of the program. Our centralized auditing team can monitor specifically for SNAP and WIC compliance on a consistent basis in order to identify fraud on the part of employees and/or customers, before it becomes widespread. In the event of an audit, retailers utilizing Agilence technology can also quickly receive detailed accounts of each transaction where food stamps were provided as tender over a chosen period of time, along with video footage of specific transactions, down to each product scan.
The Act has also increased requirements and eligibility for both retailers excepting food stamp and individual eligible to receive assistance. There have been so many incidents in the news of people getting away with millions through abuse of the SNAP program, and many of those incidents could have been prevented with proper surveillance through POS data and video. An example of such an incident is store manager who gave cash refunds and sold ineligible items to people using food assistance cards. Read more about her case here.
In this incident the women claims she was not aware that this was not proper protocol. Which is quite possible, many times we see that compliance issues stem from lack of training. Our Auditing team does a great job monitoring events and then using years of expertise to provide recommendations on how to handle the situation. Either way, this could have been prevented if the retailer had implemented our SNAP compliance program.