Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Department of Agriculture

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) puts healthy food on the table for millions of low income Americans every month. The program supplements the budgets of low-income people by providing benefits via an electronic benefit card which is used like a debit card at authorized food retailers. Through nutrition education partners, the program helps clients learn to make healthy eating and active lifestyle choices. Finally, SNAP also provides a significant boost to local economies. For every $5 in new benefits, $9 is generated in total economic activity.

Agency Accountable Official: Yvette Jackson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services

Total Payments
Improper Payments
Improper Payment Rate

Supplemental Measures

Current Measure: State Agency Errors: 61.81%, Client Errors: 37.96%, Other Errors: 0.23%

Target: No target established

Description: This measure breaks out state-reported error rates by type and source of error: Agency, Client or Other. The information will help the agency and states to identify and prevent root causes of error.

Update Frequency: Annually

Data Current as of: June 30, 2015

Current Measure: 3.65%

Target: No target established

Description: This measure shows the national aggregate error rate for the program. It incorporates each state's individual error rate into one aggregate, providing an early indicator of national trends.

Update Frequency: Semi-annually

Data Current as of: June 30, 2015

Current Measure: 19 States have improved their error rates. 34 States have not improved their error rates.

Target: No target established

Description: A measure providing the number of states with error rates better or worse than the previous year.

Update Frequency: Quarterly

Data Current as of: June 30, 2015

Program Comments

SNAP is a means-tested federal program that is administered at the state level with monitoring and oversight by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

FNS is strongly committed to program integrity.  FNS takes its stewardship responsibilities for tax payer dollars seriously through an established quality-control system and long-standing support for payment accuracy initiatives.  SNAP’s well respected quality control system has been in effect since the 1970s. The 2014 error rate of 3.2% was the lowest in history, continuing an almost decade long trend.

The Food and Nutrition Service continuously works to improve payment accuracy through partnerships with states and through regulatory and statutory requirements for a system that rewards exemplary program performance but holds low-performing states accountable.

SNAP also has a long-standing commitment to citizen access and a track record of measuring participation rates at the state and national level.  Most recent data indicates that 83% of those eligible for the program are participating yet some populations, such as seniors and Latinos are underserved. Therefore, program access is also a key priority.

Additional information on the program is also provided annually in the USDA Agency Financial Report.