Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
The Extent of Trafficking in the Food Stamp Program: 2002–2005

Trafficking – selling food stamp benefits to food retailers for cash – impedes the mission and compromises the integrity of the Food Stamp Program. While not a cost to the Federal Government, trafficking diverts benefits from their intended purpose of helping low-income families access a nutritious diet. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) uses a set of EBT-based administrative tools and undercover investigations to identify and sanction trafficking retailers, and to estimate the extent of trafficking. The estimates of the amount of trafficking, the trafficking rate, and the store violation rate reported here are based on information from almost 33,000 stores subject to administrative or undercover investigation from late 2002 through 2005.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Reaching Those in Need: State Food Stamp Participation Rates in 2004

the 2 previous years. This report also presents estimates of State participation rates for eligible “working poor” individuals (persons in households with earnings) over the same period. Although the FSP provides an important support for working families, the working poor have participated at rates that are substantially below those for all eligible persons. The addition of State-by-State information on participation among the working poor enables a comparison of these rates to the overall participation rates. Nationally, the participation rate among all eligible persons was 60 percent in fiscal year 2004. The participation rate for eligible working poor individuals was 51 percent, a significant difference of 9 percentage points.

Resource | Research | Participation Characteristics
Characteristics of Food Stamp Households: Fiscal Year 2005

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) serves low- income pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. In almost all States, the Program provides eligible recipients with vouchers that can be used at authorized stores—referred to as vendors. The 46,000 authorized vendors are mostly grocery stores and pharmacies which have signed agreements to follow program rules. In 1991 and 1998, FNS conducted national studies of WIC vendors to determine the extent of vendor violation of program rules. After the 1998 study, FNS issued regulations to correct vendor practices. The 2005 study replicates the 1998 study to determine whether the regulations were effective, and to measure the frequency of vendor violations and the degree to which vendors charge accurate prices for WIC transactions. It also provides data on payment error as required by the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-300).

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
An Assessment of the Sustainability of Food Stamp Outreach Projects

Over recent years the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has awarded multiple grants to community and faith-based organizations (CFBO) and public entities to reach out to people who are eligible but not participating in the Food Stamp Program (FSP). Grant amounts ranged from $100,000 to $350,000 and extended from one to two years. While grant proposals routinely address the question of whether and how projects will be sustained beyond the grant period, no follow-up information about the extent to which these projects have been sustained has been available to date. This report documents the extent to which CFBOs and the public entities that received food stamp outreach grants in 2001 and 2002 sustained their outreach projects up to three years beyond the funding period, challenges faced in sustaining their projects, and the factors contributing to their sustainability.

Resource | Research | SNAP Benefit Use
An Analysis of Food Stamp Benefit Redemption Patterns

Describe how participants redeem their food stamp (FS) benefits (including the number and types of stores frequented by typical clients, the timing and amount of purchases during the month, the frequency of benefit exhaustion, and the amount of benefits carried over into following months). And, identify redemption patterns across groups and analyze differences in redemption and shopping patterns if such exist (e.g., differences between participants with earnings and those without; differences between families with and without children; differences between geographic regions).

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Food Stamp Program Participation Rates: 2004

The Food Stamp Program (FSP) helps low-income individuals purchase food so that they can obtain a nutritious diet. One important measure of a program’s performance is its ability to reach its target population, as indicated by the fraction of people eligible for benefits that actually participate. This report is the latest in a series on food stamp participation rates based on the March Current Population Survey, and presents national participation rates for fiscal year 2004.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
State Food Stamp Participation Rates for the Working Poor in 2003

An important measure of the Food Stamp Program’s performance is its ability to reach the people it is meant to serve. This report presents estimates of the food stamp participation rate among eligible working poor persons in each State. Working poor persons are defined as individuals living in house holds in which at least one member had earnings from a job. The participation rates are presented for an average month in fiscal years 2003 and 2002. These estimates can be compared to the State food stamp participation rates previously released for all eligible individuals in Reaching Those in Need: State Food Stamp Participation Rates in 2003 (October 2005).