SNAP eHIP Cooperative Agreement Project
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is the cornerstone of the Nation’s nutrition assistance safety net. FNS certifies low-income Americans to participate in the program and authorizes and monitors retailers to accept SNAP benefits for eligible food products. Currently, around 40 million low-income Americans receive SNAP benefits, and more than 250,000 retailers are authorized to accept SNAP benefits.
Section 1001 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, PL 117-2, (“ARPA”) authorized USDA $4,000,000,000 for Food Supply Chain and Agriculture Pandemic Response, including the ability to provide grants and other assistance to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. Funds in the amount of $25,000,000 are now available, on a competitive basis, to enter into three cooperative agreements with state agencies to carry out Electronic Healthy Incentive Projects (eHIP) under USDA’s Framework to Transform the Food System.
Grant applications are due by March 31, 2023.
Eligible entities include the 53 State agencies who administer SNAP. State agencies in the process of re-procurement or conversion of their EBT systems will not be considered eligible applicants. Each eligible applicant may only submit one application in response to this grant solicitation.
This award is contingent upon the availability of funds. Awards are contingent upon funds having been apportioned internally and made available to FNS.
FNS reserves the right to make more than one award, and to use this competition to award additional grants in this or the subsequent fiscal year should additional funding become available.
In 2012, FNS tested a way of making fruits and vegetables more affordable for participants in SNAP through the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP). Under HIP, SNAP participants received 30 cents for every SNAP dollar spent on qualifying fruits and vegetables at participating SNAP-authorized firms. The pilot’s incentive model integrated incentive delivery and redemption through the state’s Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) processor, which loaded the incentive directly onto the household’s EBT card (i.e., EBT integration).
The final HIP evaluation presented positive findings on the impacts of financial incentives for fruit and vegetable consumption and as a result, FNS has witnessed a significant increase in healthy foods incentives offered to SNAP households. In FY 2022, the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) awarded $38,700,000 to 8 organizations, to implement fruit and vegetable incentive projects to SNAP households; FNS approved six incentive waiver requests for independent retailers to offer fruit and vegetable incentives across seven states; and FNS awarded $3,000,000 for a grantee to implement a healthy milk incentive project across six states. The increased purchase for fruit and vegetables resulting from eHIP will maintain and strengthen the delivery infrastructure of such foods, benefitting supply chain resiliency.
While HIP tested the impact of financial incentives and the feasibility of EBT integration, eHIP will evaluate the administrative costs when administered at the state-level through the state’s EBT processor and compare these costs to other incentive programs. FNS’ goal is to maximize funds directed to SNAP households, establish methods for consistent and effective incentive delivery, and decrease overall administrative costs. The final eHIP project will be independently evaluated by an evaluation contractor competitively selected by FNS.