The Government Accountability Office finds the National School Lunch Program misspent nearly $1 billion last fiscal year – 8 percent of its budget.
The Casper (Wy.) Star Tribune reports:
The report said the USDA made an estimated $996 million in errors in 2013 while certifying families for the program, which offers free and reduced lunch prices to students whose families live near or below federal poverty levels.
In nearly half the cases inspected in the report, households were not actually eligible for the free or reduced-price meals they were receiving. Families had excluded the income of a parent, lied about their household size and understated their income.
The GAO recommends the feds should more easily be able to match “external income data, such as state payroll data, with participant information to identify households whose income exceeds eligibility thresholds for verification” to “help identify ineligible participants.”