Evaluation of Child Support Enforcement Cooperation Requirements in SNAP

Evaluation of Child Support Enforcement Cooperation Requirements in SNAP

Published: Jun 06, 2024
Publisher: US Department of Agriculture
Associated Project

Evaluation of Child Support Cooperation Requirements in SNAP

Time frame: 2019-2024

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service


Sarah Bardin

Nicardo McInnis

Sarah Campbell

Mary Kalb

Asaph Glosser

Kate Stepleton

Imani Hutchinson

Key Findings
  • Ongoing implementation of the child support cooperation requirements creates administrative complexity and costs, particularly for child support programs. 
  • Implementation of the requirement did not result in increased child support payments to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, on average.
  • The financial stability of parents sanctioned for noncooperation with the requirement may worsen, and getting back into compliance can be challenging.
  • States are not adequately implementing good cause exemptions, which are intended to protect parents from domestic violence.

This study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, was carried out in response to a Congressional mandate in the 2018 Farm Bill to evaluate the optional State policy requiring families that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to participate in their State’s child support program. The study provides a comprehensive picture of factors related to these requirements, including policy motivation, operational features, costs, and implications for SNAP participants and the SNAP and child support programs that serve them.

Study findings are based on extensive interviews with SNAP and child support leadership and front-line staff, intensive in-depth interviews with SNAP participants, and an outcomes analysis of administrative data. Key topics examined include SNAP participants’ experiences with and reactions to the requirement within the context of their family dynamic and economic circumstances; administrative processes and practices used to carry out the requirement policy, including sanctions and exemptions; policy interaction and alignment across benefit programs with cooperation requirements; and outcomes that could be related to implementation of the cooperation requirement, including the share of SNAP households subject to the requirement, SNAP benefit amount, and the amount of child support received by households.

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