SNAP was a critical component of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The beginning of the pandemic saw the largest increase in applications in the program’s history, and the pandemic fundamentally altered how SNAP agencies deliver benefits, interact with participants, and provide supportive services. The goal of this research was to examine SNAP implementation during the first year of COVID-19, and generate recommendations from SNAP administrators about how to better prepare SNAP for future emergencies and improve program administration. Federal waivers and program flexibilities were viewed as critical, particularly those intended to improve caseload management, improve benefit adequacy, and reduce penalties for payment errors, though administrators highlighted many challenges to implementing program adaptations. In the future, investments in technology and streamlined administrative operations may improve outcomes for SNAP participants and staff.
Learn more about the study and methodology in this journal article.