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