About 12% of the population are on food stamps and fraud and misuse of the program has been well documented.
The Trump admin is now making a move to crack down in a big way.
Earlier this month, per WBRZ, authorities arrested a former correctional officer accused of fraudulently obtaining food stamps.
According to KATC, deputies with the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office received information in reference to a potential fraud complaint involving a correctional officer. The employee was identified as 29-year-old Kaneshia Francis.
Authorities immediately placed Francis on administrative leave and a criminal investigation was initiated.
Detectives later arrested Francis for allegedly forging documents and providing false information in an attempt to fraudulently get food stamp benefits.
Francis was booked into the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center. She was also fired.
The Trump administration on Tuesday will propose a rule to tighten food stamp restrictions that would cut about 3.1 million people from the program, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said.
Currently, 43 U.S. states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, if they receive benefits from another federal program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, according to the USDA.
But the agency wants to require people who receive TANF benefits to pass a review of their income and assets to determine whether they are eligible for free food from SNAP, officials said.
If enacted, the rule would save the federal government about $2.5 billion a year by removing people from SNAP, according to the USDA.
U.S. President Donald Trump has argued that many Americans now using SNAP do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment, and should be removed as a way to save taxpayers as much as $15 billion.
“Some states are taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to receive the SNAP benefits who would otherwise not qualify and for which they are not entitled,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters on a conference call on Monday.
SNAP provides free food to some 40 million Americans, or about 12% of the total U.S. population.
A Trump-backed effort to pass new restrictions through the Farm Bill was blocked by Congress last year, following a months-long, partisan debate.
The USDA does not need congressional approval, however, to stop states from automatically allowing recipients of TANF benefits to become eligible for SNAP, said Brandon Lipps, a USDA acting deputy undersecretary.
Current rules allow people to access SNAP benefits worth thousands of dollars for two years without going through robust eligibility reviews, he told reporters on the call.
“Unfortunately, automatic eligibility has expanded to allow even millionaires and others who simply receive a TANF-funded brochure to become eligible for SNAP when they clearly don’t need it,” Lipps said.