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SNAP Guidance for State Agencies on Novel Waivers

EO Guidance Document #
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
DATE: May 13, 2014
SUBJECT: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Guidance for State Agencies on Novel Waivers
TO: Regional Directors
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
All Regions

In recent years, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has approved several innovative waiver requests that have afforded states new flexibility in administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Because these waivers are relatively new, untested, and complex, FNS categorizes them as "novel" waivers. While novel waivers were developed as a result of multiple factors, most are related to and driven by states' efforts to modernize and mitigate the increased administrative strain caused by the rapid caseload growth that followed the recent economic downturn.

FNS acknowledges and supports state agencies in their efforts to modernize, reduce administrative burden, and better serve SNAP recipients. When implemented in a measured and responsible way, novel waivers can afford states the additional flexibility needed to achieve these goals.

In partnership with state agencies, FNS has collected and analyzed evaluation data, identified indicators of success, and compiled best practices for implementing novel waivers. The attached guidance provides an overview of several novel waivers, along with state-provided best practices and keys to successful implementation. FNS encourages states to consult this information in considering novel waivers and their potential benefits to program administration and client access, as well as to support well-reasoned, thorough waiver requests.

Lizbeth Silbermann
Program Development Division


Page updated: January 11, 2023

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.