Nutrition: Title IV
Reauthorizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Nation’s largest food assistance program, maintaining the program’s basic eligibility guidelines and work requirements while providing additional funding for enhanced employment and training activities. Increases funding for grants to promote healthy eating and establishes projects designed to reduce food waste in commodity donations to food banks and other emergency food providers.
- Enhances SNAP employment and training efforts through more individualized case management to participants and stronger partnerships with local workforce development systems.
- Strengthens SNAP integrity through the nationwide expansion of an interstate data match to prevent household receipt of benefits from more than one State and by requiring States to provide USDA with greater access to SNAP records for inspection and audit.
New Programs and Provisions
Funding for the SNAP Employment & Training Program (E&T)—designed to help SNAP recipients gain the skills, training, or work experience needed to enhance their employability—is increased. USDA will allocate $124 million per year to States for SNAP E&T, and continue to provide matching funds for administrative and other program-related costs. State E&T programs are required to provide case management to participants, which could include individualized service plans and progress monitoring. States are also authorized to launch new initiatives in their E&T programs, such as subsidized employment, and to develop “workforce partnerships,” a new category of work program outside of E&T that connects SNAP recipients to private employers or nonprofit work-related training programs. Participation in employment and training programs operated by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can also be used to satisfy a participant’s SNAP E&T requirement.
USDA is required to revise the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which is the basis for SNAP benefit amounts, by 2022 and at 5-year intervals thereafter. The TFP represents “market baskets,” or combinations of food items that a household could prepare and consume at home to meet current dietary standards at a minimal cost. Revisions to the TFP take into account new trends in food prices, food characteristics, consumption patterns, and dietary guidance. The last revision to the TFP market basket occurred in 2006, though the cost of the TFP is updated monthly for food price inflation.
The Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive grant program is renamed the Gus Schumacher Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive Program and made permanent, with funding of approximately $50 million per year. The program provides Federal matching funds to projects that encourage SNAP recipients to purchase fruits and vegetables by reducing their purchase cost. USDA is required to establish one or more training, evaluation, and information centers to assist grantees. A "produce prescription" program is established as a separate component of the grant program, with funding to develop and evaluate projects that provide fruits/vegetables in health care environments (hospitals, clinics) to SNAP participants with or at risk of developing diet-related health conditions.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides USDA foods and administrative funds to nonprofit emergency food providers such as food banks, will receive a $12-million funding increase in fiscal 2019 (4 percent over fiscal 2018 levels of about $290 million appropriated for TEFAP funding), and increases of $23-$24 million per year through fiscal 2023. The overall funding increase includes funding for new projects to reduce food waste in the TEFAP donation process—by harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting donated agricultural commodities—authorized to receive $4 million of TEFAP funding each year through fiscal 2023.
Farm bill funding is provided for grants to incentivize States to establish and maintain longitudinal databases of SNAP participants to enable research on households’ participation in SNAP, and to improve SNAP program design and effectiveness. USDA is provided funding of $30 million through fiscal 2023 to award grants, and is directed to develop a framework to maximize SNAP consistency across States.
Repealed Programs and Provisions
SNAP performance bonuses to States are eliminated. These bonuses, which totaled $48 million in fiscal 2018, were awarded to States for high or improving performance related to program administration.
Work-related requirements in SNAP are largely unchanged. As before, SNAP recipients age 16 through 59, with some exceptions, are required to register for work and accept a suitable job if offered. In addition, able-bodied adults ages 18-49 with no dependents (ABAWDs) who work less than 20 hours a week or otherwise do not meet the ABAWD work requirements can receive SNAP benefits for only 3 months out of every 3 years. This time limit can be waived in locations where unemployment rates are high or jobs are (measurably) insufficient. As of December 2018, four States (Alaska, Louisiana, Nevada, and New Mexico, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands) had statewide ABAWD time limit waivers. Another 29 States had waivers in specific locations, and 17 States had no waivers of ABAWD time limits.
While eligibility guidelines in SNAP are unchanged, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that SNAP caseloads and expenditures will continue the decline that has occurred since their historical highs in fiscal 2013. On average, 40.3 million Americans received SNAP each month in fiscal 2018, a decrease of 15 percent since 2013. Accordingly, SNAP program expenditures declined by 19 percent since 2013, to $65 billion in fiscal 2018.
Five States currently share limited data on SNAP participants through the National Accuracy Clearinghouse (NAC) in order to prevent duplicate receipt of SNAP in more than one State. A 2015 evaluation of NAC found that dual participation across the five States was quite rare—affecting roughly 0.1 percent of SNAP participants. However, the establishment of NAC did prevent dual participation, and the evaluation provided insights into best practices for States to use the data match most effectively. The CBO estimates that this provision will reduce SNAP spending by $576 million from 2019 to 2028.