The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued over $2.4 billion in improper payments on food stamps in fiscal year 2014, according to a new audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).
In a report detailing the agency’s financial statements for the year, the OIG accounted for improper payments made from the most high-risk Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs.
The OIG said the government has been building up the food “safety net” for decades, adding programs so that now one in four Americans now receive federal food assistance.
“Over the past half-century—beginning with the National School Lunch Program in 1946—the nation has gradually built an array of nutrition assistance programs designed to help the most vulnerable populations meet their food needs,” the report said. “Taken together, the current programs form a nationwide safety net supporting low-income families and individuals in their efforts to escape food insecurity and hunger and achieve healthy, nutritious diets.”
“Currently, the programs administered by FNS touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year,” the OIG added.
The report said the programs are designed to increase “food security” and healthy eating in a way that “inspires public confidence,” though the USDA is still misspending billions on food assistance.