Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2014-2015

This report responds to the requirement of Public Law 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of State and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Direct certification is a process conducted by the States and by local educational agencies (LEAs) to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act required LEAs to establish systems to directly certify children from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by school year (SY) 2008-2009. This report presents information on the outcomes of direct certification for SY 2014-2015.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
The Second Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study (APEC II): Estimating and Validating Statistical Models for Updating Estimates of Improper Payments in the NSLP and SBP

Statistical models were designed to estimate national improper payments due to certification error on an annual basis using district-level data. This enables FNS to update its estimates of national improper payment rates for the NSLP and SBP in future years without having to conduct full rounds of primary data collection.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) Best Practices Study: Final Report

This study — mandated by Section 4022 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (PL 113-79) — reviews research on employment and training (E&T) program components and practices that: (1) assist members of households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to obtain regular employment; and (2) are best integrated with State workforce development systems. This review also included research on the effectiveness of E&T components offered to low-income individuals by other Federal and State agencies, and the private philanthropic sector.

Resource | Research | Benefit Content/Cost
Foods Typically Purchased by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Households

This study uses calendar year 2011 point-of-sale transaction data from a leading grocery retailer to examine the food choices of SNAP and non-SNAP households . On average, each month's transaction data contained over 1 billion records of food items bought by 26.5 million households in 127 million unique transactions.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Feasibility Study of Capturing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Purchases at the Point of Sale

This study examined the feasibility of creating a data collection system capable of directly and automatically providing USDA with item-level data on purchases made by SNAP households. Data would be captured at the point of sale from purchases made using EBT cards.

Resource | Research | Participation Characteristics
Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2015

This report is the most recent in a series of annual reports providing information about the demographic and economic circumstances of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program households. In fiscal year 2015, as in prior years, nearly two-thirds of SNAP participants were children (44 percent), elderly (11 percent) or disabled nonelderly adults (10 percent). The average monthly benefit received by SNAP households was $254.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Special Nutrition Program Operations Study, School Year 2013-14

The Special Nutrition Program Operations Study is a multiyear study designed to provide the Food and Nutrition Service with a snapshot of current State and School Food Authority policies and practices of the school meal programs, including information on school meal standards, competitive foods standards, professional standards, school lunch pricing and accounting, and Smarter Lunchrooms activities. The information in this third year study (School Year 2013-14), the year of the first implementation phase of new breakfast standards, will provide data for observing the improvements resulting from the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Data was collected from a survey of all State Child Nutrition Directors and a nationally representative sample of School Food Authorities (SFAs).

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Nutrition Program Operations Study, School Year 2012-13

The Special Nutrition Program Operations Study is a multiyear study designed to provide the Food and Nutrition Service with a snapshot of current State and School Food Authority policies and practices of the school meal programs, including information on school meal standards, competitive foods standards, professional standards, school lunch pricing and accounting, and standards for school wellness policies. The information in this second year report (School Year 2012-13), the first year new lunch standards were implemented, will provide data for observing the improvements resulting from the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Data was collected from a survey of all State Child Nutrition Directors and a nationally representative sample of School Food Authorities (SFAs).

Resource | Research | Program Access
Examining the Potential to Expand Data Matching in the School Meal Program Eligibility and Verification Processes

This White Paper examines whether any additional means-tested programs might be feasible for use in the direct certification of school-age children participating in school meals or for verification of household income on meal applications.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Approaches to Measuring Erroneous Payments in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program At The State Level

The second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II) included a follow-on report that provided statistically-derived State-level estimates of school meals erroneous payments. However, while APEC II provided a rough indicator of relative risk for groups of States (e.g., higher than average, about average, lower than average), it was not a State-representative direct measure, and creating actual annual measures of such erroneous payments at the State level using APEC methodology is cost-prohibitive. This report explores alternative approaches to developing measurement-based State-specific estimates that are responsive to year-to-year changes in the actual underlying rate in each State. It also provides cost and burden estimates for the implementation of each of these methods.