Congress looking to fix SNAP food program flaws

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Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) and Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost talked about findings of a state investigation into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

A previous investigation by 10 Investigates exposed problems with the SNAP program. While some Ohioans struggle daily to keep food on their shelves, others have amassed amounts large enough to feed a small army – literally.

Some recipients of food assistance have tens of thousands of dollars on their government benefit cards.

A tip from a Central Ohio grocery store employee in 2015 about large SNAP card balances led 10 Investigates to uncover previously unknown numbers. State and county officials said they were unaware of these large benefit balances.

10 Investigates found 41 households with SNAP balances between $7,000 and $10,000. An additional 14 households have SNAP balances of $10,000 to $21,000. That's more than many people have in their savings account.

In a joint news release Friday, Rep. Latta and Auditor Yost spoke about their town-hall meeting Thursday in Defiance, Ohio.Auditor Yost released his findings in June, calling for increased SNAP scrutiny.

“Preserving the integrity of the SNAP program is important so that taxpayers know that their money is not being abused, and those truly in need can access the program," said Latta. "The audit performed by the Auditor’s office has shined a light on potential issues with the application of the program, and today’s discussion was insightful. As Congress begins to prepare the next Farm Bill, it is vital to hear from those on the ground about ways to improve the program.”

"SNAP provides vital assistance to many in Ohio, and it’s important to protect the tax dollars that feed our hungry,” Auditor Yost said. “We appreciate Congressman Latta hosting this meeting to bring together local leaders for an open discussion to gather input about the challenges facing the program and ideas to improve the integrity and accountability of the system.”