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Evaluation of existing issuance systems in the Food Stamp Program

Olander, Carol., Linn, Norman A., and United States Food and Nutrition Service. Office of Analysis and Evaluation.
Food stamps -- United States, program evaluation, food prices, and guidelines
Abstract: A detailed evaluation was made of the 5 basic types of issuance systems used in the Food Stamp Program: (1) authorization to participate (in which monthly authorization (ATP) cards are mailed directly to clients); (2) direct delivery (in which monthly ATP cards are sent to a local coupon delivery agent); (3) on-line (in which delivery agents verify client identification cards through a computer file); (4) direct mail (in which coupons are mailed directly to clients); and (5) household issuance record (in which an HIR card provides a continuous record of all issuance transactions for each household). The study, conducted at 30 local sites, indicated that systematic implementation of a basic set of control techniques can minimize vulnerability to benefit losses with a disproportionate increase in program administrative costs. The study alse estimated that a US reduction in benefit losses of about $30 million/year can be achieved through improved food stamp issuance practices in all issuance systems. A comparison of the operating costs, ability for controlling benefit losses, and specific recommendations for improving performance between the 5 issuance systems is appended. (wz)
Office of Analysis and Evaluation, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA publications