Geographic information systems play an unprecedented role in fraud and abuse detection

Deltek Analyst Aila Altman reports.

Through the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology, the state of Louisiana has vastly improved its ability to detect fraud and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The real-time data capabilities of GIS technology allow the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to detect patterns of use to determine if a consumer is abusing SNAP benefits. Prior to the SNAP GIS, DCFS staff had to manually compile and review this information, which resulted in a lengthy analysis period and delayed pursuit of SNAP abusers.

Other benefits of the software include the generation of customized reports on trends and patterns of SNAP use that raise a red flag, a visual display of statewide SNAP use, and data on retailers that accept SNAP for the detection of trafficking – the fraudulent sale of SNAP benefits in exchange for cash. According to data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), trafficking converted approximately $330 million worth of SNAP benefits into cash between 2006 and 2008, with 8.2 percent of stores being trafficked.

Louisiana’s pioneering of SNAP GIS software has not gone unnoticed. Last week, Texas Inspector General Douglas Wilson visited the state to witness the use of the award-winning software. Louisiana DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson believes Texas would greatly benefit from the technology.

For the complete blog, go here.

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