Assessing the Likely Impacts of Proposed Food Boxes on SNAP Recipients

  • Ahoefa Ananouko


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is the largest of the federal food and nutrition assistance programs. Studies show that SNAP is vital in increasing recipients’ food budgets, as reflected in recipients’ food spending before and after the 2009 Stimulus Package. SNAP has also been shown to reduce food insecurity for U.S. households. Proposed changes to SNAP by the Trump administration in its initial 2019 budget request could have major impacts on households that depend on the program to lessen the setbacks caused by poverty. Based on economic theory and results from previous studies examining expenditure responses to changes in SNAP, this article explores possible impacts of allocating half of SNAP benefits in the form of food boxes. It argues that these changes would have a negative impact on low-income households—especially children. These changes could create further food insecurity among some of the most vulnerable, while also increasing costs to the government.