Research Report Understanding the Rates, Causes, and Costs of Churning in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Gregory B. Mills, Tracy Vericker, Kye Lippold, Laura Wheaton, Sam Elkin
Display Date
Download Report
(1.2 MB)

In the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), churn occurs when recipients exit the program and then reenter within four months. Analysis for fiscal year 2011 in six states finds that churning cases comprised 17 to 28 percent of cases ever receiving benefits that year. Most churn occurs at a clients scheduled recertification or interim report, caused by procedural difficulties or changes in household income or other circumstances. Estimates are provided of the benefits forgone among households seemingly eligible while off the program and of the added administrative costs associated with case closings and reopenings.
Research Areas Social safety net
Tags Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Welfare and safety net programs Hunger and food assistance
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population