Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

SNAP Efficiency and Effectiveness Measures

The efficiency and effectiveness of states’ administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are critical aspects of maintaining program integrity. Ensuring accurate and timely benefits are delivered to eligible participants with optimal customer service is a top priority for USDA and ensures eligible households have access to the nutrition assistance they need. How well states are meeting this goal is measured through a variety of performance indicators.

SNAP performance indicators are based on data collected through SNAP’s rigorous Quality Control System. The system includes both state and federal reviews of households participating in SNAP as well as those whose benefits have been denied, terminated, or suspended to measure the accuracy of SNAP cases at a given time. The data are used to calculate:

Program Access Index (PAI)

Indicate the degree to which low-income people have access to SNAP benefits. The PAI compares a state’s average monthly SNAP participation to the number of residents with incomes below 125% of the federal poverty line.

Learn more

Payment Error Rates (PER)

Measures how accurately a state agency determined SNAP eligibility and benefit amounts for those who participate in SNAP. Errors include both overpayments -- when households receive more benefits than they are entitled to – and underpayments – when households receive less benefits than they are entitled to.

Learn more

Application Processing Timeliness (APT)

Measures the timeliness of states’ processing of initial SNAP applications. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 entitles all eligible households to SNAP benefits within 30 days of application, or within 7 days, if they are eligible for expedited service.

Learn more

Case and Procedural Error Rates (CAPER)

Assesses the accuracy of state agency actions in cases in which applicants were denied, terminated, or suspended and did not receive benefits. It also measures a state's compliance with federal procedural requirements, including the timeliness and accuracy of notifications sent to affected households.

Learn more

Page updated: April 30, 2024