Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Introduction To Biometric Identification Technology: Capabilities and Applications To The Food Stamp Program

This report presents an overview of biometric identification technology with particular attention to its potential use to improve the integrity of the FSP. It briefly describes some of the major technologies, summarizes their capabilities, gives examples of applications, and discusses issues that should be considered in evaluating biometric identification technology. It pays particular attention to applications of the technology to the FSP, or to other welfare programs. Although it describes several specific biometric identification technologies, it focuses on finger imaging, which has been the primary technology used in social service programs. A companion report describes the efforts of nine States that have incorporated or plan to incorporate biometric technology in their social service programs, and discusses the cost and effectiveness of these programs, as well as the reactions to them by the client population.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Use of Biometric Identification Technology To Reduce Fraud in the Food Stamp Program Final Report

This report provides an overview of the experience of nine States with biometric identification technologies as of September 1999 and discusses some of the major policy and operational issues encountered during implementation and testing. The report also synthesizes available information on the effectiveness of the technology in reducing duplicate participation and provides a discussion of measurement complexities and issues on the horizon as use of the technology continues to expand. A companion report contains an overview of biometric identification technology, examining the functional capabilities, performance, and applications of the various technologies with a particular focus on finger imaging, the most commonly used and well known.

Resource | Research
The Reaching the Working Poor and Poor Elderly Study: What We Learned and Recommendations for Future Research

To increase its understanding of the reasons for nonparticipation, the Food and Nutrition Service(FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR) to conduct a study of nonparticipation by low-income working and elderly households, entitled Reaching the Working Poor and Poor Elderly. This report summarizes what was learned and offers recommendations for how a national survey of the reasons for nonparticipation in the FSP should be designed and fielded.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Report on the Pretest of the Reaching the Working Poor and Poor Elderly Survey

Less than one-half of working households and less than two-fifths of elderly households that are thought to be eligible for food stamps actually received them in 1994. One way of increasing our understanding of the reasons for these low rates of participation in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) would be to conduct a national survey of nonparticipants who are eligible for the program. Because such a survey would have to overcome conceptual and operational challenges, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to design and test a survey of the reasons for nonparticipation among low-income working and elderly households. This report discusses our experiences conducting a pretest of this survey and our recommendations for the design and fielding of a larger national survey about the reasons for nonparticipation in the FSP.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Trends in FSP Participation Rates: Focus on September 1997

The Food Stamp Program (FSP) helps needy families purchase food so that they can maintain a nutritious diet. Families are eligible for the program if their financial resources fall below certain income and asset thresholds. However, not all eligible families participate in the program. Some choose not to, while others do not know they are eligible. The participation rate—the ratio of the number of participants to the number of eligibles—reveals the degree to which eligible families participate.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Options For A National Data To Track Participation in Federal Means-Tested Public Assistance Programs: Report to Congress

This report responds to PL 105-379, which mandated the U.S. Department of Agriculture to examine options for the design, development, implementation and operation of a national database to track participation in federal means-tested public assistance programs. Such a database would: Identify interstate duplicate cases, that is, individuals receiving program benefits in two or more States at the same time. Help track the time limits required by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) across State boundaries. The time limits restrict the amount of time certain clients of the Food Stamp Program (FSP) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) can receive benefits.

Resource | Research | Policy Analysis
The Use of Food Stamps To Purchase Vitamin and Minerals Supplements

Interest, research, and expenditures on dietary supplements are growing very fast. Americans spent $8.2 billion in 1995 for vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals, and sports nutrition products. About half of all Americans reported at least some use of vitamins and minerals in response to recent surveys. The general goal of the study is to examine existing data that bear on a diverse set of pertinent issues.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Feasibility Study of Capturing Food Data at Checkout

In the past, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has relied on a series of large surveys to gather and compare information on food expenditures and food consumption among participants and non-participants to better understand the impacts of the Food Stamp Program (FSP) on the diet and nutritional status of program participants. Studies based on survey data, however, have a number of drawbacks, including the time and expense of collecting the survey data, sampling error, response bias, errors in respondent recall, and misinformation about what may have been purchased or consumed.

Resource | Research | Nutrition Education
Evaluation of Statewide Nutrition Education Networks (1995-1999)

One activity that reflects the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) commitment to nutrition promotion is the development of State nutrition networks. Since October 1995, USDA’s Food and Consumer Service (FCS) has awarded cooperative agreements to 22 States to create nutrition networks that would develop innovative, large-scale, and sustainable approaches to providing nutrition education to low-income families that participate or are eligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program (FSP). Twelve States entered into agreements with FCS in 1995. In 1996, ten more States signed agreements. These agreements fund State-level nutrition education networks of State and local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and representatives of private industry. The purpose of the networks is to coordinate the delivery of nutrition education messages to the low-income population eligible for food stamps. In the past, some people participating in the FSP received nutrition education through individual counseling or classes. Now, FCS is promoting a new approach, designed to reach many more FSP participants and to bring about positive changes in behavior more effectively. The cooperative agreements provide States with resources to recruit network members, develop network membership, and create a nutrition education plan that is linked to social marketing technique.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Food Stamp Participants' Access to Food Retailers

In this report, data from the NFSPS are used to address several important questions concerning food store access of low-income households, including: (1) At what kinds of stores do low-income households shop? (2) What distances do low-income households travel to reach those stores? (3) What transportation methods do they use to reach their food stores? (4) Do low-income households engage in careful shopping behaviors that can allow them to get the most out of the money and food stamp benefits they spend on food? and (5) In general, how satisfied are low-income Americans with their shopping opportunities?