USDA is committed to modernizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to best serve all participants, and a major part of fulfilling that commitment is promoting equity and inclusion in the program.
This week, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service published a final rule that changes how racial and ethnic data is collected in SNAP. SNAP applications include the option for applicants to indicate their race and ethnicity. Currently, if the applicant chooses not to disclose this information, SNAP state agencies are required to record this information using alternative means, including visual observation, when reporting data to FNS. The final rule removes the option to use visual observation as an acceptable alternative when this information is not provided by the applicant.
This change aligns SNAP regulations with current federal policy, including OMB government-wide guidance and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. FNS is grateful to our stakeholders who took the time to comment on the proposed rule and will continue to seek ways to advance equity in SNAP that further USDA’s commitment to building equitable and inclusive systems for nutrition support.