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Relationship Between the EITC and Food Stamp Program Participation Among Households With Children

by Kelly S. Mikelson, Robert I. Lerman, and Karen Hamrick

Electronic Publications from the Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (EFAN-04-002) 54 pp, April 2004

The Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Food Stamp Program (FSP) are the largest means-tested transfer programs for low-income, working parents in the United States. This study examines how these two programs interact, particularly with regard to the impact of the EITC on participation in the FSP during the latter half of the 1990s. Although EITC payments do not reduce the potential size of a household's food stamp allotment under FSP rules, they do add to a household's resources and thus could affect a household's willingness to participate in the FSP. The paper tests this hypothesis with monthly data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation for 1996 through 1999. Although the findings are mixed, they provide evidence of negative impact of EITC on FSP participation.

Keywords: Food Stamp Program, FSP, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, FANRP, low-income households, food assistance, program outcomes

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Last updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

For more information contact: Kelly S. Mikelson, Robert I. Lerman, and Karen Hamrick