Thursday, April 06, 2017
State auditor to investigate possible fraud in food assistance program
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has announced the start of an audit of the Department of Social Services' food assistance program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. The review will be conducted by the newly-formed Data Analytics Technical Audit unit and will examine safeguards and investigate the occurrence of fraudulent or other suspicious activity in the program.
"We cannot afford to allow taxpayer dollars to be wasted through fraud. That's why we're reviewing both the department's oversight, and the actual data to determine the occurrence of fraud at the program level and through use of EBT cards," Auditor Galloway said. "As a certified fraud examiner, I know that identifying fraud can be difficult, and that's why we're using new technology and a specialized audit team to examine this program."
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, is a federal program administered through the Missouri Department of Social Services. The department issues monthly cash-value benefits to low income Missourians loaded on debit cards that can be used to purchase groceries. Federal tax dollars pay the benefits while the state shares the cost of program administration with the federal government. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than 800,000 Missourians received SNAP benefits in the last fiscal year.
The announcement comes days after Auditor Galloway issued an audit of state compliance with federal spending guidelines, which questioned more than a million dollars in spending on programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. The audit will be completed as part of the State Auditor's Budget Integrity Series, which examines contributing factors to the current budget crisis, including areas with a high risk of inappropriate spending or misuse of funds.
Individuals with information on this or any audit in the Budget Integrity Series may contact the State Auditor's Whistleblower Hotline by calling 800-347-8597, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by using the new online submission form at auditor.mo.gov/hotline. Callers may choose to remain anonymous.