Monday, January 30, 2017

Conservatives Find SNAP Works, But Needs Reform

The conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), observes that a large body of research shows that SNAP* reduces poverty, improves food security among low-income households, and has positive effects on infant health and long-term benefits for children. It also finds SNAP to be fairly efficient.

In FY 2014, the error rate (that is, the percentage of dollars that go to ineligible households or get over- or underpaid) was extremely low at 3.66%, and 99% of households that received benefits were eligible.

In addition, 92% of spending is for benefits that go directly into households, with only 8% supporting administrative and other efforts.

But AEI believes SNAP would benefit from several reforms. It proposes a pilot program in a few states to test distributing SNAP benefits through block grants. This, it contends, would allow states to experiment with work requirements, efforts to improve nutrition, and ways to better tailor benefit levels to local conditions. Besides block grants, pilot programs could be implemented and rigorously studied to determine whether work requirements for all able-bodied recipients could be effective and whether they increase employment among SNAP recipients. Other reforms include changing the SNAP benefit calculation to adjust for local cost of living and not allowing SNAP participants to purchase unhealthy nonfood items linked to obesity, such as sugary beverages.

Source: American Enterprise Institute, 1/25/17, SNAP Reforms

*Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps)

1 comment:

  1. Block granting SNAP is a terrible idea. The great thing about SNAP is it is flexible to meet need. Block granting it takes that away. It will go the way of TANF with only 30% going to the programs and people it is intended to support. Block granting SNAP is a ruse to cut use of the program. AEI is not a supporter of programs that help people.