Simulating Proposed Changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Countable Resources and Categorical Eligibility

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Sep 06, 2018
Karen Cunnyngham

Among households that participated in SNAP in fiscal year 2015:

  • An estimated 9 percent—almost 2 million households—would no longer be eligible for SNAP benefits.
  • An estimated 283,000 households would be newly eligible and choose to participate.
  • Overall, the proposed policy changes would result in an estimated 8 percent drop in eligible participating households.

As Congress works to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of the 2018 farm bill, proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) continue to dominate ongoing nutrition-related policy discussions. Although the Senate version of the bill leaves eligibility requirements largely untouched, the House version (H.R.2, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) would, among other things, change SNAP policies related to countable resources and state categorical eligibility options.

This issue brief, the first in a new series of briefs analyzing the impact of proposed changes to SNAP, provides insight into how changes to SNAP eligibility requirements could impact SNAP participants, including children, seniors (age 60 or older), and people with disabilities. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Mathematica is using a microsimulation model developed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to estimate the effect of the changes proposed in the House version of the farm bill on SNAP participants. The model simulates fiscal year 2015 federal and state SNAP policies using 2011 data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and fiscal year 2014 SNAP Quality Control data.