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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP is the most effective anti-hunger program in the United States. In 2023, SNAP helped approximately 42 million people put food on the table during tough times.

What’s at Stake?

SNAP is a federal nutrition program that helps people buy the food they need for healthy lives. People participating in SNAP receive monthly benefits through Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, which they can use like debit cards to purchase groceries at retailers nationwide. These food benefits are timely, targeted and temporary.

In addition to boosting the grocery purchasing power of eligible individuals and families, SNAP is an economic multiplier that infuses money into local economies. Every dollar in SNAP benefits spent helps generate an estimated $1.50 in economic activity.

For every meal the Feeding America food bank network provides, SNAP provides nine. The program’s ability to increase food security and stimulate local economies is unparalleled.

What’s Feeding America Doing?

SNAP policy is largely set by the farm bill, which is reauthorized by Congress about every five years. In the next farm bill, Feeding America calls on Congress to:

  • Strengthen SNAP’s purchasing power so that benefits align with grocery prices and provide adequate support during tough economic times
    • One in six people in the U.S. turned to the charitable food sector for help in 2022. Increasing SNAP benefits will shorten the lines of individuals and families waiting for assistance at food banks.
  • Streamline SNAP eligibility and enrollment to improve access for older adults, college students, veterans, working families, immigrants and other people facing barriers.
  • Better assist individuals seeking employment by bolstering support for effective state employment and training programs and ensuring people receive adequate SNAP benefits as they find work.
  • Ensure parity in food assistance for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories by allowing them to participate fully in SNAP and sovereignty for Native communities in administering SNAP.

Learn more about feeding america’s farm bill priorities

Fast Facts 

  • Among households receiving SNAP benefits, 81% include a child, senior or person living with disabilities.
  • Households usually spend their monthly benefits within weeks, so SNAP provides quick support to local economies.
  • SNAP is well-designed to respond quickly and effectively to support families with low incomes and communities during times of increased need, expanding when the economy weakens and contracting as the economy recovers.
  • SNAP provides key support while people search for new jobs. Receiving SNAP benefits has been found to increase long-run rates of employment for people who worked steadily prior to application. Most non-elderly adult SNAP recipients without disabilities work in the year before or the year after receiving SNAP benefits.
  • SNAP promotes long-term health and well-being. Adult SNAP participants save an average of $1,400 per year in health care costs compared to non-participants.

Our Experts

Carrie Calvert

Vice President, Agriculture and Nutrition Government Relations

Monica Gonzales

Director, Congressional Relations

Robert Campbell

Vice President, Policy

Corey Malone-Smolla

Director, Policy – Commodities