Conduct Effective Outreach
The federal government reimburses agencies and nonprofit organizations for half of their expenses for approved outreach activities. An agreement between the state agency and the nonprofit organization must be included in a state SNAP Outreach Plan approved by USDA Food and Nutrition Services. While states are not required to create a SNAP Outreach Plan, it is strongly encouraged to help target resources toward low-income families and garner assistance from nonprofit organizations. The USDA offers SNAP Outreach Plan Guidance to help states develop effective outreach strategies.
Since the majority of eligible children participate in SNAP, organizations and agencies will want to strategically target outreach and assistance. States can use program data to identify underserved families with kids. For example, working with Share Our Strength, AARP and the state of Maryland, Benefits Data Trust used administrative data to identify individuals who were receiving heating assistance and Medicaid but not SNAP. They conducted targeted outreach and provided application support to increase the number of households with families and seniors enrolled in SNAP. State and organizations can also target communities that often have lower rates of participation, such as children of immigrant households.
Reduce Administrative Burdens and Expand Program Access
States can adopt policies that will reduce paperwork for staff, minimize the burden on families and ensure that benefits are reaching people in need. For example, states can simplify reporting, implement document imaging and expand categorical eligibility for the program. See the USDA’s State Options Report for a summary of state policy and administrative options and to understand which options your state has already adopted.