SNAP Policy Data Sets

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides low-income families with a monthly benefit, delivered on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used to purchase food from authorized grocery stores and other food retailers. This data product provides access to two sets of data that provide information about State-level SNAP eligibility rules and administrative policies.

The SNAP Policy Database provides a central data source for information on State policy options in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The database includes information on State-level SNAP policies relating to eligibility criteria, recertification and reporting requirements, benefit issuance methods, availability of online applications, use of biometric technology (such as fingerprinting), and coordination with other low-income assistance programs. Data are provided for all 50 States and the District of Columbia for each month from January 1996 through December 2016. The information in this database can facilitate research on factors that influence SNAP participation and on SNAP's effects on a variety of outcomes, such as health and dietary intake. For more information, see About the SNAP Policy Database.

The SNAP Distribution Schedule Database documents the monthly distribution schedule for SNAP in all 50 States and the District of Columbia for each month since January 1998. The monthly SNAP benefit is posted to the household’s account on a single day each month, but in most States, not all participating households receive their benefit on the same day. Instead, the distribution of benefits is staggered over a week or more during the month, with only a portion of the State's caseload receiving their benefits on each distribution day. States differ in the way that they divide their caseload for staggered distribution but follow a general pattern of using the last number of the household’s case number or the first letter of the last name. Each group is then given their SNAP benefits on the same calendar day each month so that they receive benefits every 30 to 31 days, depending on the month. The current distribution schedule is posted by the Food and Nutrition Service. The information in this database can facilitate research on how the receipt of SNAP benefits influences food consumption, expenditures, and other behaviors. For more information, see About the SNAP Distribution Schedule Database.

Data Set Last Updated Next Update
SNAP Policy Database 4/12/2018
SNAP Distribution Schedule Database 2/13/2019