North Dakota Overpaid Food Stamps Recipients By $3.7 Million In 2011

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Maybe this is why Democrats are dead-set against separating food stamps policies from agriculture policies in the farm bill so they can be debated on their own merits.

According to a USDA quality control report for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), North Dakota overpaid food stamps recipients by millions of dollars.

The report, representing the latest numbers available, was issued in December of 2012 and covers fiscal year 2011.

In that year, North Dakota issued $3,706,860 worth of over-payments to food stamps recipients, while underpaying recipients by $455,996. That adds up to $4,162,856 in inaccurate payments.

In total, North Dakota paid $95,918,344 to food stamps recipients over the course of the year.

North Dakota had a 6.27% error rate when it comes to over-payment of food stamps benefits, and a 2.09% error rate when it comes to under-payment. It’s hard to imagine which private sector business would tolerate that number of mistakes. Would Verizon stay in business if more than 5% of its national billing were inaccurate in a given year? Not only would their business be hurt, one would think it would be a major story for consumer advocates.

Nationally, $71.8 billion in food stamps payments were paid out in 2011 with $2.1 billion of those funds being over-issued.

According to the report, the average monthly case load for the food stamps program in North Dakota in 2011 was 27,265. The average monthly distribution in benefits was $7,501,709, or $275 per case.

Nationally, the food stamps program had an average of 20,000,753 cases per month paying out roughly $5.2 billion. The average allotment per case was $280.

The report also indicates that a significant amount of food stamp dollars – 6.01% – went to “non-citizens.” Nationally 9.29% of food stamps payments went to non-citizens. Payments to non-citizens in North Dakota made up just 4.24% of payments made in error.

SNAP 2011 Quality Control Report

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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