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SNAP and the Low-Income Safety Net

SNAP is unique in serving as a near-universal entitlement: While there are needs-based eligibility criteria, there are few other restrictions across age, family structure, disability, or employment status and all qualified applicants are guaranteed a benefit. At the same time, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp Program) operates in tandem with the broader safety net, which also includes cash and in-kind transfers that target specific segments of the population, such as children, workers, and people with disabilities. This brief explores how SNAP operates in conjunction with other, more targeted safety net programs. It focuses on school meal programs to examine the food safety net for school-age children; and subsequently considers how SNAP interacts with the broader tax and transfer safety net. This is the last in a four-part series drawing from a comprehensive new book, SNAP Matters: How Food Stamps Affect Health and Well-Being, edited by the authors of this brief.


Child Poverty, Children, Economic Support, Food & Nutrition, Food Assistance, Food Insecurity, Means-Tested Programs