GardenShare

GardenShare

Thursday, March 12, 2015

“CHURNING” HURTS SNAP PARTICIPANTS AND AGENCIES


Recent testimony before Congress highlighted the causes and consequences for SNAP participants of “churning,” the process that occurs when a household receiving SNAP exits the program and then re-enters within four months or less. An Urban Institute study found that churn rates across the 6 participating states range from 17 to 28% for FY 2011. The causes of churn are complex. Fluctuations in SNAP recipients’ earnings appear to play only a limited role. The much larger story, however, is that procedural difficulties, which typically happen when an agency is recertifying a household’s eligibility or when a recipient reports on household changes that might affect monthly benefits, also cause churn. Churn has financial consequences to both agencies and clients. Re-opening cases requires a new application, which cost agencies more than recertification. Clients lose the benefits they may have been eligible for during their churn spell.


Source: Urban Institute, 2/26/15, SNAP Churn