Reduced administrative burden for SNAP is an effective state policy to impact:
State policies related to the administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have a significant impact on participation rates among eligible households. The most effective policies to increase participation in SNAP are longer recertification intervals and implementing combinations of policies that reduce the administrative burden related to enrollment and recertification for the program, such as recertification intervals of 12 months, simplified reporting for all families, and online case management services. However, although the evidence is clear that lower administrative burdens increase enrollment in SNAP among those who are eligible, the evidence base does not provide clear guidance on the optimal combination of policies.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is a federally funded program that provides food vouchers to households with low income. States can adjust aspects of program administration, including policies that affect the administrative burden associated with program participation. Administrative burden refers to the barriers that increase the costs (e.g., time, money, and psychological distress) of applying for and maintaining enrollment in SNAP, and these barriers may reduce participation among households eligible for the program. SNAP receipt is associated with improved birth outcomes, reduced childhood food insecurity, and improved child health, therefore it is critical that eligible families have access to the program.
State policies vary in many ways that can influence participation in SNAP, including how frequently states require beneficiaries to recertify their eligibility, interview requirements, income reporting requirements, availability of online applications, and providing call centers for application assistance, among others. The policies that have been shown to have positive impacts on SNAP participation include reducing how frequently beneficiaries need to recertify their eligibility (longer recertification intervals), waiving the in-person interview requirement, and implementing a combination of low-burden policies to reduce administrative burden.
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Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center. (2023). Prenatal-to-3 policy clearinghouse evidence review: Reduced administrative burden for SNAP (ER 01D.0923). Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University. https://pn3policy.org/policy-clearinghouse/reduced-administrative-burden-for-snap
Updated October 2023