WASHINGTON– The US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced on Oct. 6 that it awarded $53 million to eight grant programs for state and local agencies and partners to enhance the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

The grants were released throughout August and September and the FNS said it will help programs operate with SNAP benefits more effectively.

“SNAP represents a critical component of America’s food safety net – and now more than ever, we need to ensure that safety net is well-supported” said Cindy Long, administrator for the food and nutrition service. “State agencies and their partners are the backbone of the program, and these grants are part of USDA’s commitment to providing them the resources they need to deliver program benefits in a manner that best meets the needs of the people they serve while maximizing program integrity and the use of data.”

The grants focused on increasing efficiency, program integrity, data and analysis, customer service, SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) programs, and nutrition. 

They include:

  • SNAP Enhanced Income Verification Grants were awarded $16.5 million to 19 state agencies to support and evaluate the use of third-party databases to enhance how states verify the income of SNAP participants, promoting administrative efficiency. 
  • SNAP Longitudinal Data Project grants were awarded $18 million to 11 state agencies to help establish research databases with eligibility, benefit, and demographic information on SNAP households to enable research on SNAP participation over time and across state lines.
  • SNAP E&T Data and Technical Assistance Grants were awarded $3.7 million to five state agencies to improve SNAP E&T data quality and analysis. The grant wants to use that information to bolster E&T programs.
  • SNAP E&T National Partnership Grants were awarded $2.6 million to two national nonprofits, Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies – to leverage their extensive networks to identify, train, and support prospective SNAP E&T providers.
  • SNAP Fraud Framework Grants were awarded $2.5 million for five state agencies to advance recipient fraud prevention, detection and investigation efforts using best practices from the SNAP Fraud Framework FNS that was release in 2018. 
  • SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grants were awarded $4.8 million to seven state agencies and nonprofits. They are set up to enhance the user experience of SNAP applications and notices, strengthen public health emergency preparedness and pandemic response and improve customer service to SNAP participants. 
  • SNAP Online Purchasing Participation Assistance for Farmers and Farmers’ Markets Grant was awarded $3.7 million to the National Association of Farmers’ Markets Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP), a nonprofit that works with the farmers market community to support farmers interested in offering online payment using SNAP benefits. 
  • SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive Grant awarded $930,000 to the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. It will support development and testing of using incentives to encourage SNAP households to buy and drink more milk. 

According to FNS, 42.3 million Americans rely on SNAP benefits.