Research Report Asset Limits, SNAP Participation, and Financial Stability
Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan, Laura Wheaton, Emma Cancian Kalish, Catherine Ruggles, Sara Armstrong, Christina Oberlin
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Asset limits in means-tested programs are designed to target benefits to the neediest people, but they can discourage low-income households from saving and can increase program costs when participants leave and reenter the program (i.e., churn) for administrative reasons. Using Survey of Income and Program Participation data from 1997 to 2013, we find that relaxing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) asset limits through broad-based categorical eligibility increases the likelihood that low-income people live in a household with a bank account (by 5 percent) and at least $500 in that bank account (by 8 percent). We also find that relaxed asset limits reduce SNAP churn by 26 percent.
Research Areas Wealth and financial well-being Families Social safety net
Tags Poverty Asset and debts Welfare and safety net programs Economic well-being Hunger and food assistance Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Opportunity and ownership
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population