Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Accuracy of SFA Processing of School Lunch Applications – Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) 2005

This is the first of a series of annual reports which will assess the administrative error associated with School Food Authorities’ (SFAs) approval of applications for free and reduced-price school meals. More than 95 percent of students who were approved for benefits on the basis of an application were receiving correct benefits, based on the information in the application files. In school year 2004/05, 3.5 percent of all students who submitted an application for free/reduced-price meal benefits had an administrative error in the processing of their applications (4.2 percent if categorically eligible students are excluded).

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Making America Stronger: A Profile of the Food Stamp Program

A summary of past research on program operations and outcomes related to the Food Stamp Program.

Resource | Research | Food Security
Impact of Food Stamp Payment Errors on Household Purchasing Power

Most discussion of payment accuracy in the Food Stamp Program focuses on the overall level and cost of payment errors. Rarely does the discussion focus on the impact of payment errors on individual households affected. This analysis – based on 2003 food stamp quality control data – leads to two broad conclusions. First, virtually all households receiving food stamps are eligible. Thus, the problem of erroneous payments is not so much one of determining eligibility, but rather one of attempting to finely target benefits to the complicated and changing circumstances of low-income households. Second, most overpayments to eligible households are small relative to household income and official poverty standards. As a result, most food stamp households are poor, and they remain poor even when overpaid.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Preliminary Report on the Feasibility of Computer Matching in the National School Lunch Program

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (PL 108-265) directed the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study of the feasibility of using computer technology (including data mining) to reduce overcertification, waste, fraud and abuse in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Prior to enactment of this legislation, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) contracted with Abt Associates, Inc. to study the feasibility of expanding computer matching for certification of school meal benefits. This study draws on experts in data matching and privacy issues, and will survey State Child Nutrition Directors, State Education officials, and State Medicaid officials to learn about current computer matching capabilities and issues involved in expanding matching. A final report will be available in April 2006. To meet the requirements of the Act, FNS asked Abt Associates to prepare a preliminary report on the feasibility of computer matching in the NSLP. The report summarizes the results of an expert panel on computer matching, and exploratory interviews with three states. This summary provides background information and preliminary findings on the feasibility of computer matching.