Simulated Effects of Changes to State and Federal Asset Eligibility Policies for the Food Stamp Program

Simulated Effects of Changes to State and Federal Asset Eligibility Policies for the Food Stamp Program
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
By: Karen Cunnyngham and James Ohls
This study uses a microsimulation model to assess the effect of changes to State-level Food Stamp Program (FSP) asset rules on household eligibility and on the benefits that eligible households would receive. The findings show that 7 percent of households eligible in 2006 were eligible only through expanded categorical eligibility rules that exempted the households from the standard Federal FSP asset rules and that 1 percent of eligible households were eligible because of State rules that counted fewer vehicle assets toward the asset limits. The number of eligible households would increase by about 3 percent if asset limits were raised by $2,000, by 22 percent if the asset test were eliminated, by 2 percent if retirement accounts were excluded, and by less than half of 1 percent if all vehicles were excluded. Eligibility across States varied widely, with 32 percent of households eligible in at least one State but not eligible in all States. The Food Stamp Program was renamed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in October 2008.

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