Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Examining the Evidence to Define Benefit Adequacy


Report at a Glance

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest nutrition assistance program administered by the USDA, serving more than 46 million low-income Americans per year, at a cost of more than $75 billion. The goals of SNAP are to improve participants’ food security and their access to a healthy diet.

The USDA asked the IOM and the National Research Council to consider whether it is feasible to objectively define the adequacy of SNAP allotments that meet the program goals and, if so, to outline the data and analyses needed to support an evidence-based assessment of SNAP allotment adequacy. The committee concluded the adequacy of the allotments can be defined, but doing so requires identifying the factors that affect SNAP participants’ ability to meeting the program goals. The committee recommends individual, household, and environmental factors and program characteristics that USDA should consider in defining the adequacy of SNAP allotments and ways to approach monitoring the ability of participants to meet program goals with their allotment