Brief The Unintended Consequences of SNAP Asset Limits
Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan, Laura Wheaton, Emma Cancian Kalish
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Relaxing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) asset limits through broad-based categorical eligibility increases low-income households’ savings (8 percent more likely to have at least $500) and participation in mainstream financial markets (5 percent more likely to have a bank account); it also reduces SNAP churn (26 percent). Taken together, relaxed asset limits increase households’ financial security and stability by increasing savings and reducing benefit fluctuations, and they can decrease administrative program costs when fewer people cycle on and off the program. The findings suggest that states with SNAP asset limits can improve family financial well-being by relaxing them and that reinstating federal SNAP asset limits will harm family financial stability.

Research Areas Social safety net Wealth and financial well-being
Tags Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Hunger and food assistance