Date of Award

Winter 1-15-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Stephen Hilkowitz


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), once labeled the Food Stamp Program, was constructed mainly to boost low-income households’ capabilities in regards to purchasing food in order to maintain a satisfactory nutritional, low-cost diet. The program accomplishes this by providing benefits as a supplemental income to recipients in order to allow them to purchase certain foods. The federal government supplies the funds for the benefits and transfers the obligation to the states as far as administrating the program. Specifically, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is liable for defining the program regulations and confirming that the states are complying with these regulations, mainly by supervising the direction of the program as well as monitoring their activity.

Within the past few years, various forms of fraud, including trafficking, or the mistreatment of program benefits to obtain non-food items, have become serious concerns, with technology providing increased opportunities to both commit and combat such activities. State agencies are held liable for addressing SNAP recipient fraud, including detecting, investigating and prosecuting fraud under the direction and supervision of the FNS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The research provided by this paper identifies the different types of SNAP fraud, namely, recipient and retailer fraud. This paper further discusses how these can negatively affect specific states, small businesses and individual families. The need for a structured fraud framework is also discussed in order to provide stabilization and the prevention of loss within states. In addition, this paper addresses proposed solutions of government interventions as well as how states may monitor fraud, and this paper ends by providing recommendations for individuals reporting fraud.