The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is sponsoring a study to examine the impact of eliminating the required client interview for SNAP benefit certification and recertification.
These grants will be awarded under authority provided by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (as amended through P.L. 111-296), Section 17(a)(1), 7 U.S.C. 202(a)(1). Many states have waivers that have allowed them to replace the face-to-face client interview with alternative means of screening SNAP applicants for benefits. These alternatives include telephone interview, postponed face-to-face interviews, and no interview. Little research has been conducted to quantify the impacts of replacing the face-to-face interview with alternatives.
FNS will provide grants through cooperative agreements to three states to participate in an important study that is designed to compare the effects of not conducting interviews at at certification or at certification and recertification with the state's current interviewing practices on program operations and client outcomes. Each state will identify a pilot site and a comparison site. The pilot site will eliminate the interview at certification or at certification and recertification for all SNAP clients.
The comparison site will administer the program as is typically done in the state - this may be face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, same-day interviews, or some combination. The purpose of this grant is for State agencies to participate in an assessment of the impact of waiving the face-to-face interview for SNAP benefits on program outcomes. Participating states will implement demonstration projects in which the interview for SNAP benefits is waived. The states will work with FNS who will evaluate whether and to what extent the absence of client interviews affects participation, efficiency, access, payment accuracy, administrative costs, customer access, and staff and client satisfaction. The results of this study will provide FNS with guidance as they develop guidelines to help states further improve program operating efficiency and access.