Clearinghouse fights SNAP fraud across state lines

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Clearinghouse fights SNAP fraud across state lines

Fraud, waste and abuse plague the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but five state health and human services agencies are fighting back with a joint fraud detection system.

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Mississippi led Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana in working with LexisNexis Risk Solutions to create the National Accuracy Clearinghouse (NAC) to identify and prevent dual participation in the $80 billion SNAP and DSNAP. (The latter program provides aid to disaster-affected beneficiaries.)

The five states share SNAP recipient information, which NAC combines using advanced linking technology and identity analytics to research whether applicants are receiving multiple benefits within and across states. NAC detects problems in real time, allowing states to query the repository when someone applies for SNAP and instantly receive an alert if the person already gets help elsewhere.

The information in NAC is stored in the LexisNexis Secure Data Cloud and updated automatically through a secure file interface transfer between the states and the company.

Reshma Khatkhate, senior program administrator at the Mississippi Department of Human Services’ Field Operations Division; NAC project lead Tim Meeks; and Rutledge McMillin, staff attorney at the department, discussed the project with GCN via email. “Several states have expressed interest in joining the NAC, and we are excited about the NAC potentially going nationwide in the future,” they wrote. “NAC is a versatile solution, which can be integrated into the states’ existing eligibility systems using web services, batch process or a portal search. Data exchange takes place using secure file transfer protocol. Participating states have [memorandums of agreement] in place for data sharing.”

Since NAC’s pilot launch in 2015, it has saved the states about $10 million, including $4.4 million when it was implemented and found the first group of duplicate participants. Now NAC identifies more than 2,000 fraudsters or ineligible participants each month. If deployed nationally -- NAC’s ultimate goal-- the savings could top $200 million annually.

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.

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