Electronic Publications from the Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (EFAN-03013-2) 113 pp

May 2004

Food Stamp Program Access Study: Eligible Nonparticipants

Many food stamp-eligible nonparticipants are aware of the Food Stamp Program (FSP) and how to apply but do not realize that they are eligible. Nearly all eligible nonparticipating households surveyed in 2000 and 2001 knew of the FSP, but less than half thought they were eligible. Most nonparticipant households said that they would apply for food stamp benefits if they were sure they were eligible. Nonetheless, 27 percent would never apply. The main reason for not applying was a desire for personal independence. Some eligible nonparticipants were interested enough in receiving benefits to contact the food stamp office but did not get enough information or support to become participants. This report was produced as part of the Food Stamp Program Access Study, which is examining local food stamp office policies and practices as possible barriers to participation. The report focuses on one group of eligible households, those who are not participating in the FSP. As a group, these households generally have higher incomes and earnings and are more food secure than participants.

Keywords: Food stamp program, FSP, food assistance, program nonparticipants, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, FANRP

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