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Evaluation of Child Support Enforcement Cooperation Requirements in SNAP

Resource type
Research, Analysis & Background
Research type
Policy Analysis
Report to Congress
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Summary (230.68 KB)

This report responds to a Congressional mandate in the 2018 Farm Bill (PL 115-334) for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct an evaluation of child support cooperation requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Child support cooperation requirements refer to a set of policies that mandate households receiving certain public benefits cooperate with their state’s child support program as a condition of benefit receipt. Few states used the option at the time of publication. There has been an active debate about the advantages and disadvantages of states implementing a child support cooperation requirement in their SNAP programs.

This study helps fill this gap using a mixed methods approach to study the implications for both the low-income families affected by the cooperation requirement and the SNAP and child support programs that serve them.

Key Findings

Volume I - Main Report

  • Automated, integrated data systems are key to implementing the requirement but can require substantial upfront costs.
  • Ongoing implementation of the requirement creates administrative complexity and costs, particularly for child support staff.
  • The requirement may lower SNAP benefit costs to the government, but savings may be offset by increased child support enforcement costs for the government.
  • Implementation of the requirement did not result in increased child support payments to SNAP households, on average.
  • The financial stability of parents sanctioned for noncooperation with the requirement may worsen and getting back into compliance can be challenging.
  • States are not adequately implementing good cause exemptions which are intended to protect parents from domestic violence.

Volume II - State Profiles

This volume presents profiles for each study state included in the study in alphabetical order: Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The profiles summarize:

  1. Information collected during site visits and virtual interviews with state and local SNAP and child support staff.
  2. Information collected from in-depth interviews with SNAP participants.
  3. Selected highlights from the study’s analyses of state child support and/or SNAP administrative data.
Page updated: June 06, 2024