SNAP is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program, helping feed more than 40 million Americans each month. SNAP received $74 billion in funding in FY18; the federal government funds the benefits and splits the cost of administering the program with the states. Nearly two-thirds of SNAP participants are children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The average participant in FY18 receives $128.57 per month
SNAP—ED is a nutrition education component of the program under which USDA provides grants to states to encourage participants to make healthy purchases with their benefits. The program is funded separately from SNAP—each state receives an allotment based on state participation rates—and the services offered are in addition to actual food assistance benefits. In addition, the 2014 Farm Bill included $188 million over five years for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, which offers competitive grants to incentivize healthier food purchases by SNAP participants at the point-of-sale.
Updated: September 2018
Learn more about the critical support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides to families and individuals across the country, including firsthand accounts from participants in Michigan, Kansas, Alabama and Washington state.
About one in 11 households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would lose eligibility under certain provisions of the House Farm Bill—H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act—according to a microsimulation conducted by Mathematica Policy Research.
The following SNAP-related recommendations originate from State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, 2018 produced by Trust for America’s Health and RWJF.
• Congress and the Administration should maintain and strengthen essential nutrition supports for low-income children, families, and individuals through programs like SNAP and expand related programs and pilots, such as the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive and the Healthy Incentives Pilot, to make healthy foods more available and affordable.
• USDA should expand and evaluate pilots and programs aimed at increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods under SNAP and other nutrition programs.
Does SNAP Cover the Cost of a Meal in Your County?
SNAP provides monthly food budget assistance to more than 42 million eligible, low-income people. But even the maximum SNAP benefit falls short of low-income meal costs in 99% of US counties.
Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks Program
The Double Up Food Bucks program in Michigan provides SNAP participants who make purchases at farmers’ markets with up to $20 in vouchers to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables. The program generated $2 million in combined SNAP and DUFB sales in 2012, benefitting 13,000 SNAP participants and more than 700 farmers statewide.
Evaluation Finds Small Investments Can Increase Adult Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
An evaluation of the Healthy Incentives Pilot, a demonstration project that incentivized fruit and vegetable purchases among certain SNAP participants, found that an ongoing investment of less than 15 cents per person per day may result in a 25 percent increase in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults.
7,000+ farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers nationwide accept SNAP benefits.
Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9 in economic activity.
From 2009 to 2012, more than 30% of SNAP participants received benefits for one year or less, and nearly half received benefits for two years or less.
- Share on Twitter Share on Facebook For each $15 in additional SNAP benefits, estimated grocery spending among SNAP participants increases by nearly $10.
- Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Research has shown that “access to the food stamp program in utero and in early childhood leads to a large and statistically significant reduction in the incidence of “metabolic syndrome” (a cluster of conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes) as well as an increase in reporting to be in good health.”
- Share on Twitter Share on Facebook SNAP kept around 3.6 million people—including 1.5 million children—out of poverty in 2016.
- Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Children who had access to food assistance like SNAP in early childhood, and whose mothers had access during their pregnancy, are more likely to graduate from high school.
- Share on Twitter Share on Facebook In 99 percent of U.S. counties, the average SNAP benefit does not cover the cost of a low-income meal.
Originally posted in August 2018.