A Communication Strategy to Decrease Fraud, Abuse, and Waste in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

New York City Human Resources Administration, Investigation, Revenue & Enforcement Administration
Dennis Smith
Marne Braddock, Natalie Kianoff, Takafumi Okamoto

The NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) is the nation’s largest social service department and provides food stamp benefits to 1.8 million recipients via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP loses millions of dollars annually to trafficking, fraud, and overpayments. After fraud discovery, the Investigation, Revenue and Enforcement Administration (IREA), a department within HRA, conducts extensive investigations; however, investigations are costly and the amount recovered rarely covers the expense of the investigation. The Capstone team was asked to work with the IREA to improve their external communication strategy to optimize fraud deterrence methods. The team focused on prevention strategies, researching different deterrence methods used in other states and countries, with particular attention on social welfare programs and the private sector. After analyzing IREA's current deterrence systems, the team developed an effective communication strategy based on best practices to decrease fraud, abuse, and waste in SNAP.

Focus Areas