SNAP Basics

Greenstein Testifies on SNAP Before House Agriculture Committee

SNAP has played a central role in largely eliminating severe hunger and malnutrition in the United States. At the end of 2014, SNAP was helping more than 46 million low-income Americans to afford a nutritionally adequate diet. Eligible people who apply can receive benefits, and when poverty and need increase, the program expands. Then when the economy grows robustly again, the program contracts. This enables SNAP to respond quickly and effectively during times of economic downturn and increased need.

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Chart Book: SNAP Helps Struggling Families Put Food on the Table

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. 

  • SNAP reaches millions of people who need food assistance. 
  • SNAP is an efficient part of the nationwide safety net.

This chart book highlights some key characteristics of the more than 46 million people using the program as well as trends and data on program administration and use. 

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A Quick Guide to SNAP Eligibility and Benefits

Most families and individuals who meet the program’s income guidelines are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP — formerly the Food Stamp Program). The size of a family’s SNAP benefit is based on its income and certain expenses. This paper provides a short summary of SNAP eligibility and benefit calculation rules.

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