A new study by the Agriculture Department has found that the percentage of Americans selling their food stamps back to stores for cash has gone up 30 percent in the past few years. The study compared the periods of 2006 -2008 and 2009 -2011 to see how food stamps trafficking had changed.
The budget for food stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs benefits, is now at roughly $858 million. From 2006-2008, SNAP Benefits only cost taxpayers $330 million annually.
Food stamps recipients typically sell back their benefits at a discount. In order to collect more information about the practice, the Agriculture Department used undercover investigators to look into stores that showed “suspicious activities.”
About 10.5 percent of all authorized SNAP stores engaged in trafficking, compared to 8.2 percent in the 2006-2008 time period, Fox News reported.
Small grocery or convenience stores were more likely to be involved in trafficking redemptions. Trafficking was also more likely to occur in neighborhoods with higher poverty rates.
This study comes on the heels of a report that welfare recipients in New York took out cash at bars, liquor stores, porn shops, hookah parlors and strip clubs.