July 15, 2022

New guidance from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) urges state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) agencies to leverage federal SNAP reimbursement funds for SNAP outreach that prioritizes work to help participants transition to regular intake rules after the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) COVID Public Health Emergency Declaration (PHE) ends, and to connect more low-participating eligible populations with benefits. State SNAP outreach plans for fiscal year 2023 are due by Monday, August 15.

Certain temporary boosts in SNAP benefit amounts and flexibilities in processing applications could sunset when the HHS COVID-19 PHE Declaration  ends. When temporary SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA) expire, most SNAP participants, on average, will lose $82, a participant, a month, and college students will face more barriers to SNAP eligibility. FRAC is urging congressional action to avert the looming “hunger cliff.”

As the FNS memorandum points out, some outreach strategies could help households during the transition to regular SNAP operations. Outreach and application assistance also can help participants claim regular SNAP deductions and receive the full benefit amounts for which they qualify.

SNAP participation gaps vary among states and demographic groups. FNS urges states to include one or more of the following populations in their annual state SNAP outreach plans: students, older adults, veterans, Black and Latino adults, and households with immigrant members.

The Closing the SNAP Gap reports that FRAC and The Food Trust have published with key state anti-hunger partners identify outreach as one of the ways to strengthen SNAP’s food security and health equity impacts. Effective outreach strategies range from peer-to-peer application assistance and text messaging, to data matching to get SNAP to those qualifying for other public benefit programs.

Join FRAC in working with states to undertake SNAP outreach activities and urging Congress to pass permanent improvements to SNAP benefits and access to address the looming “hunger cliff.”