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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates

USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates: Fiscal Year 2010, August 2013

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income individuals purchase food so that they can obtain a nutritious diet. One important measure of the program’s performance is its ability to reach its target population, as indicated by the proportion of people eligible for benefits under federal income and asset rules who actually participate. Of the nearly 51 million individuals eligible for SNAP benefits in an average month in fiscal year (FY) 2010, 38 million (75 percent) participated and nearly 13 million did not. While SNAP served 75 percent of all eligible individuals, it provided 94 percent of the SNAP benefits available to all eligible individuals. The two rates differ because the neediest individuals, who were eligible for higher benefits, participated at higher rates than other eligible individuals. Participation rates for children, individuals in households with incomes below the poverty line, and recipients of TANF were all relatively high. At least 88 percent of all eligible individuals within each of these groups participated in FY 2010. The participation rate was under 40 percent for eligible elderly adults (age 60 and older), individuals living in households with incomes above the poverty line, and individuals in households eligible for benefits between 1 and 50 percent of the program maximum for their household size.”


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