The program is more commonly referred to as food stamps.
The pilot fraud-prevention plan is through the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service. It utilizes technology-based consultation services with the help of Accenture. According to state officials, the plan also identifies unintentional errors that can also lead to waste.
According to numbers released by S.C. Department of Social Services, there were 311 fraud cases totaling over $912,000 in the first six months of 2013. Unintentional error cases number more than 2,600 with money totaling nearly $5 million in the same time period.
In those cases, “almost all money” was recovered, according to the state agency.
In the fiscal year 2013, DSS said 18 stores in South Carolina were disqualified due to trafficking and misuse of SNAP benefits.
“DSS is taking any kind of fraud very seriously and with the help of this program, hopefully we will be able to identify more and deter more fraud in the system,” said Karama Bailey, division director of county operations for the Offices of Economic Services. “We do know these things are going on, and that’s what we are trying to track now and get a handle on … Not every single case will be fraud. But maybe some of the waste that is occurring that’s just inherent in any system — and that’s what we were doing before. With this new program, this is allowing us to find ways to use technology to identify some of this abuse that’s taking place and also allowing us to find more of the fraud that is taking place.”
According to a news release about the pilot plan, the project is expected to span from January 2014 to September 2015 with these objectives:
- Assess current anti-fraud processes and capabilities.
- Identify promising practices and improvement opportunities.
- Develop a roadmap to achieve a holistic approach for reducing recipient fraud.
- Deliver Proof of Concept to demonstrate the feasibility of the anti-fraud approach.