Project: The Extent of Trafficking in the Food Stamp Program After Welfare Reform
Award Year: 1998
Amount of award, fiscal 1998: $199,921.00
Institution: Food and Nutrition Service, USDA
Principal Investigator: Ted Macaluso
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: This study provides updated estimates of food stamp trafficking using current data and provides longitudinal comparison of the prevalence of trafficking before and shortly after initial implementation of welfare reform. In 1995, the Food and Nutrition Service created the first data-based, national estimate that about $815 million was trafficked for cash from the Government by stores during fiscal year 1993 (which amounts to just under 4 cents of every dollar of food stamp benefits issued). The vast changes initiated by the landmark welfare reform legislation may have changed the prevalence of trafficking, although the direction of the change is uncertain. Welfare reform is changing the profile of program participants. In addition, it mandated the use of electronic benefit transfer and the spread of this technology (already about one-third the national caseload) may further alter the prevalence of trafficking.

In March, 2000, the Food and Nutrition Service released the report "The Extent of Trafficking in the Food Stamp Program: An Update." The data and codebook are expected to be completed in March, 2001. The cost of the project, conducted by Macro International, Inc., is $199,921 in fiscal 1998.

Topic: Program Integrity, Program Operations, SNAP/Food Stamp Program
Macaluso, T. The Extent of Trafficking in the Food Stamp Program: 1999-2002, FSP-03-TRAF, USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, July 2003.