According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the feds spent $100 billion for food assistance. The GAO Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security Kay E. Brown, said the food stamp program gave benefits to an average 46 million Americans in 2014 at a cost of $74.6 billion. Continue reading for more on allocated funds.

The national school lunch program was the second most expensive item at a cost of $11.3 billion with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at $7.1 billion. Puerto Rico received food assistance worth $1.9 billion. Also, the “Special Milk Program” was allocated $10.7 million.

Brown highlights there’s a potential for inefficient use of federal funds and overlap because of the governments perplexing network of 18 food assistance programs. There are three federal agencies that administer these programs and have difficulty assessing its effectiveness. So, it’s quite possible for funds mismanagement to occur.


“In 2010, research GAO reviewed suggested that participation in seven of these programs was associated with positive outcomes, such as improving nutrition among low-income households”…but that “Little was known about the effectiveness of the remaining 11.”

In 2014, a total of 109.9 million Americans were provided government assistance from 18 federal programs. Inadequacy lies within government oversight because the list doesn’t account for individuals participating in more than one program. Brown said he and the GAO urge the Department of Agriculture (USDA) address potential program overlap. Brown believes further action is required by the USDA to discuss and correct these concerns. In 2013, the USDA facilitated a study on redundant programs but Brown says it did not go far enough in their examinations.