Priority Policy

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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 approximately 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 or around $4.29 per day.

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.

Map illustrating possible impact of SNAP changes

September 2019

State-Level Impact of Proposed Changes to SNAP

A proposed rule from USDA to end SNAP Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) would cause more than three million SNAP participants across 39 states to lose their benefits. In 20 states, more than 10 percent of SNAP households are slated to lose eligibility under the rule.

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More Mathematica SNAP Impact Assessments

March 2019

Work Waivers

USDA has proposed a rule to tighten SNAP work waivers. A new analysis finds that more than 1 million SNAP participants could be affected, and that the vast majority of them live alone and in deep poverty.

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November 2018

Energy Assistance

Provisions included in the House Farm Bill would have resulted in up to 1.1 million households that received SNAP benefits in 2017 experiencing an up to $75 cut in their monthly benefit. The provision was not included in the Farm Bill that became law.

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September 2018


An earlier analysis found that about one in 11 households receiving SNAP benefits, roughly 2 million in total, would lose eligibility under certain provisions of the House Farm Bill. These provisions were removed before the bill was signed into law.

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Updated: February 2019

SNAP Stories

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program, helping feed more than 40 million Americans each month. Learn more about the critical support SNAP provides to families and individuals across the country, including firsthand accounts from program participants in Michigan, Kansas, Alabama, Texas, Washington state and more.

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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.

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Does SNAP Cover the Cost of a Meal in Your County?

SNAP provides monthly food budget assistance to approximately 40 million eligible, low-income people. But even the maximum SNAP benefit falls short of low-income meal costs in 99% of US counties.

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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.

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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.

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Fast Facts


7,000+ farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers nationwide accept SNAP benefits.

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Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9 in economic activity.

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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.

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Originally posted in August 2018.