At A Glance
- Allows tracking of state SNAP rules and policies
The SNAP Policy Database provides a central data source for information on State policy options in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The database includes information on State-level SNAP policies relating to eligibility criteria, recertification and reporting requirements, benefit issuance methods, availability of online applications, use of biometric technology (such as fingerprinting), and coordination with other low-income assistance programs. The information in this database can facilitate research on factors that influence SNAP participation and on SNAP's effects on a variety of outcomes, such as health and dietary intake.
Households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Data are provided for all 50 States and the District of Columbia for each month from January 1996 through December 2016
The Economic Research Service (ERS), U. S. Department of Agriculture
The ERS SNAP Policy database provides a central data source for information on State policy options in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For much of SNAP's history, administration of the program was fairly uniform across States. With passage of welfare reform legislation in 1996, along with subsequent legislative and regulatory changes, States now have considerable discretion in how they administer the program. State flexibility in program administration has important implications for equity in program design and administrative costs, and State policy choices have an influence on the SNAP caseload, making it useful to document patterns of SNAP policy changes.
However, it can be challenging to present myriad policy changes in a meaningful way that is also clear and easy to understand. To address this challenge, ERS has used the SNAP Policy Database to create a SNAP Policy Index and interactive tool to provide an overall measure of how accommodating States are in enrolling individuals in SNAP. The SNAP Policy Index is comprised of 10 state policies that previous research indicates have statistically and economically significant impacts on SNAP caseloads. The index is available for each State and year from 1996 to 2014.
all 50 states
|Recertification and reporting requirements|
|Benefit issuance methods|
|Availability of online applications|
|Coordination with other low-income assistance programs|
Data Access and Cost
Free of cost
Ganong, Peter and Jeffrey B. Liebman. 2018. "The Decline, Rebound, and Further Rise in Snap Enrollment: Disentangling Business Cycle Fluctuations and Policy Changes." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 10(4), 153-76.
Klerman, Jacob Alex and Caroline Danielson. 2011. “The Transformation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 30(4): 863-888).
Ratcliffe, C., McKernan, S., & Finegold, K. (2008). Effects of Food Stamp and TANF Policies on Food Stamp Receipt. Social Service Review, 82(2), 291-334. doi:10.1086/589707
Schmidt, Lucie, Lara Shore-Sheppard and Tara Watson. 2016. "The Effect of Safety-Net Programs on Food Insecurity." Journal of Human Resources, 51(3), 589-614.
Stacy, Brian, Laura Tiehen and David Marquardt. 2018. Using a Policy Index to Capture Trends and Differences in State Administration of USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
The database documentation is available at: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/snap-policy-data-sets/documentation/