Publications

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  • The Food-Spending Patterns of Households Participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Findings From USDA's FoodAPS

    EIB-176, August 16, 2017

    USDA's FoodAPS survey provides unique and comprehensive data to explore the food-spending patterns of SNAP households.

  • FoodAPS Data Now Available to the General Public

    Amber Waves, December 05, 2016

    New public-use files on the ERS website contain data on food and beverage purchases from food retailers and eating-out places, along with foods acquired for free from schools, family, friends, home gardens, and food pantries.

  • State Participation-To-Poverty Rates for SNAP Mask County-Level Variation

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    ERS used data on SNAP participation and the number of people in poverty to calculate county-level "participation-to-poverty” rates. High rates mean that more people likely to be eligible for SNAP benefits receive them. Low rates may indicate the need for better outreach to low-income residents.

  • Request for Applications for Competitive Grant Awards to Conduct Economic Research on the Joint Contributions of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Unemployment Insurance to the Nation's Social Safety Net

    AP-043, December 18, 2009

    The Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program (FANRP) of the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) announces the availability of funds and a request for applications to conduct research on operational issues of USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp Program, or FSP) and its support for the working poor. In particular, ERS seeks research that addresses: (a) operational issues regarding SNAP participation decisions and the dynamics of program participation among low-income households with workers, and (b) the interactions between receipt of SNAP benefits and State Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, especially during the current recession. ERS believes the issues can best be addressed by careful analysis of linked program administrative data from the SNAP and UI programs. Total funding available for this research is approximately $500,000. The deadline for proposal submission is February 17, 2010.

  • Assessment of WIC Cost-Containment Practices: Executive Summary

    FANRR-31, May 26, 2003

    The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides both nutrition education and supplemental foods containing nutrients determined by nutritional research to be lacking in the diets of pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, infants, and children. State WIC agencies have implemented practices designed to reduce the cost of food packages containing these prescribed foods. For instance, one of the WIC program's primary cost-saving practices is negotiating rebate contracts with manufacturers of infant formula. Additional practices include limiting authorized vendors to stores with lower food prices; limiting approved brands, package sizes, forms, or prices; and negotiating rebates with food manufacturers or suppliers. There is concern that these practices may inadvertently counter the program's goal of providing supplemental foods and nutrition education. Based on a review of cost-containment practices in six States, including interviews with the various stakeholders and analysis of WIC administrative files, the study draws three major conclusions: (1) cost-containment practices reduced average food package costs by 0.2 to 21.4 percent, depending on practices implemented and local conditions; (2) the cost-containment practices had few adverse outcomes for WIC participants; and (3) administrative costs of the practices were low, averaging about 1.5 percent of food package savings.

  • Assessment of WIC Cost-Containment Practices: Final Report

    EFAN-03005, February 25, 2003

    The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides both nutrition education and supplemental foods for pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, infants, and children. These supplemental foods contain nutrients that nutritional research has found may otherwise be lacking in the diets of WIC recipients. State WIC agencies have implemented practices designed to reduce the cost of food packages containing these prescribed foods. For instance, one of the WIC program's primary cost-saving practices is negotiating rebate contracts with manufacturers of infant formula. Additional practices include limiting authorized vendors to stores with lower food prices; limiting approved brands, package sizes, forms, or prices; and negotiating rebates with food manufacturers or suppliers. There is concern that these practices may inadvertently counter the program's goal of providing supplemental foods and nutrition education. Based on a review of cost-containment practices in six States, including interviews with the various stakeholders and analysis of WIC administrative files, the study draws three major conclusions: (1) cost-containment practices reduced average food package costs by 0.2 to 21.4 percent, depending on practices implemented and local conditions; (2) the cost-containment practices had few adverse outcomes for WIC participants; and (3) administrative costs of the practices were low, averaging about 1.5 percent of food package savings.

  • Effects of EBT Customer Service Waivers on Food Stamp Recipients: Final Report

    EFAN-02007, June 27, 2002

    Most State agencies are now using electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems to issue food stamp benefits. To promote operational efficiency, some States have received waivers of certain rules governing EBT use. An exploratory study was conducted to ascertain the effects of these waivers on food stamp recipients. The results show that two of the waivers-those allowing recipients to select their own personal identification numbers and to receive EBT training by mail rather than in person-cause new food stamp recipients in waiver States to have more difficulties in using the electronic system than new recipients in nonwaiver States. Further, the difficulties are more apparent among the elderly or disabled. However, the problems tend to disappear as new users gain EBT experience. A third waiver, extending time for card replacement via mail, showed mixed benefits for recipients, most of whom prefer to pick up the card at a food stamp office. Perhaps the most important conclusion is that the customer service waivers do not affect recipient satisfaction with the EBT system; the high level of satisfaction that they expressed suggests that most problems with the waivers are either transitory or minor.

  • Effects of EBT Customer Service Waivers on Food Stamp Recipients: Executive Summary

    FANRR-23, April 15, 2002

    Most State agencies are now using electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems to issue food stamp benefits. To promote operational efficiency, some States have received waivers of certain rules governing EBT use. An exploratory study was conducted to ascertain the effects of these waivers on food stamp recipients. The results show that two of the waivers-those allowing recipients to select their own personal identification numbers and to receive EBT training by mail rather than in person-cause new food stamp recipients in waiver States to have more difficulties in using the electronic system than new recipients in nonwaiver States. Further, the difficulties are more apparent among the elderly or disabled. However, the problems tend to disappear as new users gain EBT experience. A third waiver, extending time for card replacement via mail, showed mixed benefits for recipients, most of whom prefer to pick up the card at a food stamp office. Perhaps the most important conclusion is that the customer service waivers do not affect recipient satisfaction with the EBT system; the high level of satisfaction that they expressed suggests that most problems with the waivers are either transitory or minor.