Clarification on the three ways initial SNAP application processing timeliness is measured
The memorandum that follows is intended to clarify the three ways in which the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) measures timeliness of initial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application processing. This memorandum does not represent new policy, but seeks to clarify the three existing data collection and monitoring procedures. These procedures are: the Application Processing Timeliness (APT) rate calculated from the Quality Control (QC) active case sample, the state timeliness rate calculated from the universe of state data, and the Certification Section of the FNS Program and Budget Summary Statement, Part B-Program Activity Statement (FNS-366B). In addition to these measures, FNS also regularly monitors state timeliness though management evaluation reviews, advocate and client complaints, and other modes of information gathering.
The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended (the Act), entitles all eligible households to benefits within 30 days of application, or within 7 days, if they are eligible for expedited service. Although state agencies process the majority of SNAP applications within these timeframes, the data collection processes outlined in this memorandum allow FNS to identify and monitor states that struggle to consistently process applications timely.
Each method offers both strengths and challenges. In practice, FNS has found that these methods complement each other and, when taken together, provide a more complete picture of timeliness in a state. The three data collection methods are described below.