WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2015 – Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced $5 million in grants to state and local agencies and community partners to streamline application processing and improve technology in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The competitively-awarded grants will fund six projects in four states, improving efficiency in SNAP operations.
“The grants announced today will fund innovative projects that will help make the process of applying for benefits and determining eligibility more efficient for SNAP households and state agency staff,” Concannon said. “These projects will serve as a blueprint for improvement in other states, as well.”
USDA sought projects that help make the workflow process more efficient, incorporate technology improvements for client services, or reduce churning – when an eligible household exits and then re-enters the program within four months. Churning causes a break in nutrition benefits despite continued eligibility and at the same time requires redundant processing work by state staff. These initiatives will use modern solutions to address such administrative challenges, such as mobile applications, text message reminders, and online portals, or examine and revise office procedures to shorten application processing times for initial applications or re-certifications.
The Process and Technology Improvement Grants target state agencies, community- or faith-based organizations, public health or educational entities, and food banks. Awardees and grant amounts are:
- New Jersey Department of Human Services - $1,445,528
- SC Thrive in South Carolina - $911,386
- California Statewide Automated Welfare System Consortium IV - $853,326
- New York City Human Resources Administration Department of Social Services - $1,548,065
- Jefferson County (New York) Department of Social Services - $141,716
- Yolo County (California) Department of Employment and Social Services - $99,979
For more information about these projects, please visit the SNAP Program Improvement website.
SNAP-administering agencies in the 50 states, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia and their partners were eligible to compete for the grants, which are not to exceed three years.
“As a key component of the nation’s nutrition assistance safety net, SNAP is a vital program that helps Americans in need put food on the table,” Concannon said, “and USDA is committed to ensuring that hard-earned taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently.”
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, these programs include Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, the National School Lunch Program, and the Summer Food Service Program which together comprise America's nutrition safety net.