Department of Social Services

Food Stamp Program, Administrative Costs

The food stamp program in New York State is overseen by the Department of Social Services and is directly administered by 58 local social services districts. Food stamp benefits are federally funded, while the administrative costs relating to the benefits are shared by federal, State and local governments. We examined the Department's controls over these administrative costs, which exceed $200 million annually. Each month the local districts submit claims to the Department for reimbursement of their food stamp administrative costs. We examined the claims submitted by five large districts during one month and found that the districts were overpaid by a total of $48,000 (this rate of overpayment equates to about $580,000 a year for these five districts). To prevent such overpayments, we recommend that the Department clarify its reimbursement guidelines and improve its review of reimbursement claims.

We also analyzed the administrative costs in the local districts and identified significant cost variances among similar districts. We estimate that, if administrative costs were reduced in the districts with unusually high costs, the savings statewide would total $17 million. We recommend that the Department identify the reasons for the cost variances and establish benchmarks for monitoring the reasonableness of local district administrative costs.

For a complete copy of Report 95-S-133 click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.