WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Department of Justice announced April 12 that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) will pay the United States $6,991,905 after allegations of violating the False Claims Act while administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, was created to provide eligible low-income individuals and families with financial assistance for the purchase of nutritious foods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the program but states determine whether applicants are eligible for benefits. They also administer the benefits and provide quality control. The USDA reimburses states for a portion of the costs of administering the program.
According to allegations, WDHS implemented improper and biased quality control methods that decreased the state’s reported error rate. Because of this scheme, WDHS earned falsely increased performance bonuses for 2009, 2010 and 2011.
"This settlement reflects the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring that taxpayer funds are spent appropriately so that the public can have confidence in the integrity of programs like SNAP,” said acting assistant attorney general Chad A. Readler of the DOJ’s Civil Division.