Access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by eligible applicants and ongoing participants is one of the highest priorities set by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Improving program access helps to increase food security among low-income, eligible persons. FNS and state agencies work to improve program access in two ways: first, by informing people about the availability of food assistance through SNAP, and second, by identifying barriers that prevent eligible people from accessing program benefits.
As SAs have modernized their SNAP operations, there has been an increase in the implementation and use of online applications, online state and community partner resources, and call centers/change centers. Subsequently, these technological changes and partnerships have had a significant impact on clients' experience with the program. While the other review areas focus on specific program areas for which regulatory requirements exist, complete regulatory standards do not exist for the new methods especially with regard to call centers/change centers.
Additionally, some states are county-administered and therefore may utilize multiple computer systems. Thus, it is important to review the impact of these new methods from the standpoint of customer service and other applicable program requirements. Since FNS is always looking to identify best practices and lessons learned in the area of SNAP modernization, the collection of information concerning the implementation of these initiatives will provide both a statewide and national benefit.