In implementing this new commonsense requirement, USDA should prioritize simplicity and speed. Requiring all recipients to report their out-of-state move within 10 days will give state agencies the tools they need to ensure that benefits are not moving with individuals and to prevent benefits being issued by multiple states. While most states operate simplified reporting in food stamps that undermines reporting requirements, 10-day reporting is still a staple of food stamp rules. Enacting such a requirement for those moving out of state echoes those original eligibility requirements already embedded in federal regulations and enforced by agency officials.
USDA should also encourage states to take additional actions to crack down on abuse by those moving out of state. Maine operated such an effort to find and disenroll food stamp recipients who had moved out of state by analyzing EBT transaction data and identifying those individuals who had used their EBT cards exclusively outside of Maine. Taking this effort nationwide builds on one-time audits conducted in various states to ensure a consistent policy across all enrollees.
By implementing this rule, USDA will close a known loophole and help improve program integrity within the food stamp program. It will give states an additional tool to address abuse, allowing them to access real-time information instead of relying solely on reviewing data months or years later to find those food stamp recipients who have moved out of state. Most importantly, this rule will preserve food stamp resources for those who truly need them.