This study aimed to describe state agencies’ implementation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, barriers and facilitators to SNAP implementation, and recommendations to improve SNAP implementation. This study was qualitative, using 7 semistructured, virtual focus groups in April 2021 with state-level SNAP administrators and supportive services supervisors from 26 states. Six primary themes emerged from the focus groups: the policy response, technology needs, collaboration, participant communication, funding realities, and equity. Implementation challenges included the design of waivers in the early pandemic response, inadequate federal guidance and funding, outdated technology, and prepandemic regulations limiting state authority. Modernized technology systems, availability of virtual programming, partnerships, and enhanced benefits facilitated SNAP implementation. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program administrators adapted their programs to deliver services virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. These experiences highlighted the importance of certain policy determinants, such as modernized technology and streamlined application processes, to improve outcomes for SNAP participants and staff in the future.
Published: September 2022
ID #: CAS070
Journal: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Authors: Headrick G, Ellison C, Bresnahan C, Green C, Lyons M, Moran A
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