Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (FANRR-14) 22 pp

April 2001

Understanding the Food Stamp Benefit Formula: A Tool for Measuring the Component Effects

This report develops an accounting tool for measuring how the average benefit amount in the U.S. Food Stamp Program is affected by each major component of the rules that determine the benefit level. This tool is used to compare the benefits received by different subpopulations, distinguished by poverty level, demographic makeup, household size, and region of the country. This simple decomposition complements more complex tools, such as microsimulation methods, which help policy analysts understand and evaluate the effects of detailed Food Stamp Program regulations.

Keywords: Food Stamp Program, benefit formula, income, household size, poverty status, deductions, FANRR, Food Assistance and Nutrition Program

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