The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest of the federal food assistance programs, currently serving about 40 million U.S. households. SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) helps income-eligible families by providing a monthly benefit that can be used to purchase groceries. Over 40% of households using SNAP are households with children. The amount received each month is based on family size, income and other household factors. Participation in SNAP has been associated with greater household food security, although SNAP benefits are not always sufficient to ensure food security for every household.
In the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP benefits were slowly declining, in part due to economic recovery and in part due to changes in SNAP eligibility. Since the start of COVID-19, the SNAP program has been expanded in a number of ways.
Rudd Center research explores the role of SNAP in shaping health behaviors, particularly diet-related behaviors among households facing food insecurity. This includes the SuperShelf and WAGE$ studies. Rudd Center research also addresses participant perceptions of the program, and how SNAP policy changes are likely to affect households facing food insecurity.