The nation’s food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provided a record $74.6 billion in benefits to needy Americans in Fiscal Year 2012 — paying out $2 billion too much, according to the annual quality control report for FY 2012, the most recent year for which data is available.
And only in Washington could that $2 billion in overpayments be viewed as a good thing.
Combining the $2,069,402,427 in overpayments with the $484,885,314 in underpayments for fiscal 2012 yields a “payment error rate” of 3.42 percent. “This remains the lowest national payment error rate in the history of SNAP,” the report noted. (The 3.42 percent payment error rate is the sum of the FY 2012 overpayment rate — 2.77 percent — and the underpayment rate –0.65 percent.)
The data show the payment error rate has declined over time, from 5.64% in FY 2007; 5.01% in FY 2008; 4.36% in FY 2009; 3.81% in FY 2010; 3.80% in FY 2011; and the record low 3.42% in the latest FY 2012 report.
But over a five-year period, covering most of the Obama presidency, the size of the SNAP program — both in dollars and the amount of overpayments — has greatly increased.