SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) provides benefits intended to increase the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households, so that they are able to purchase a nutritionally adequate diet. Eligible households have net monthly incomes at or below the poverty threshold, after deductions for certain expenses. Benefits vary according to household size and income, and are based on the government’s “thrifty food plan.” In 2016, the maximum benefit for a family of four was $649 per month. All child participants in the 50 states and the District of Columbia are included in the estimates presented here.
Child Trends. (2018). Receipt of SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps). Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/indicators/food-stamp-receipt.
1. SNAP benefits are not restricted to those households with incomes below the federal poverty level (FPL). While the net monthly income cut-off for SNAP benefits is 100 percent of the FPL, estimates of child poverty are calculated on an annual, not monthly, basis. In addition, individuals with net incomes higher than the cut-off, but who are receiving other benefits (such as TANF, SSI disability, or disaster relief payments) may be categorically eligible.
2. The use of different data sources to estimate rate numerators and denominators can result in estimates of eligible individuals with a particular characteristic that are lower than the corresponding estimates of participants. When this happens, estimated rates exceed 100 percent. The reports for 2013 and later do not report estimated rates over 100 percent or the associated estimates of eligible individuals, households, or potential benefits.
3. Zedlewski, S. R. & Rader, K. (2005). Have food stamp program changes increased participation? Social Service Review, 79(3), 537–561.
4. Leftin, J., Eslami, E., & Strayer, M. (2011). Trends in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation rates: 2002 to 2009. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Policy Support. Retrieved from https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/Trends2002-09.pdf.