GAO Releases Report Calling on USDA to Strengthen Oversight of School Meal Eligibility


June 18, 2014 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken steps to ensure legitimate access to school-meal benefits, but it could do more, the Government Accountability Office says in a report published Monday, June 16th.

The report notes that the USDA worked with Congress on a measure that automatically enrolls Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries for free school meals and increased the frequency of administrative reviews of school districts from every five years to every three years. “As part of this process, state agencies review applications to determine if eligibility determinations were correctly made,” the report says. The 59-page report identifies ways to strengthen oversight and verification of eligible participants of the program.

The report recommends that the Agriculture secretary develop a pilot program to explore the feasibility of its suggestions. The USDA generally agreed with the recommendations.

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