Researchers from the across the University of South Carolina, including the Arnold School of Public Health’s health services policy and management department and Rural and Minority Health Research Center along with the School of Medicine, conducted a study that examined the uptake of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by participants in a home visiting program. The paper was published in the journal, Social Work.
Dr. Elizabeth Radcliff, a research assistant professor with the Arnold School’s department of health services policy and management and a core faculty member with the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, served as lead author on the paper.
In 2015, more than 16 percent of U.S. households with children were food insecure at some point during the year. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federally-funded program created to address food insecurity in the United States. However, research has suggested that safety net programs such as SNAP may be underutilized by eligible families.
The researchers looked at receipt of SNAP benefits among 2,249 SNAP-eligible participants in a South Carolina home visiting program. Benefit status was obtained at program enrollment and six months post-enrollment.
Their analysis showed that 15.6 percent of home visiting program participants without SNAP benefits at program enrollment were receiving benefits by six months post-enrollment. Disparities in SNAP-uptake existed across marital status, ethnicity, and age of caregivers.
The authors conclude that programs such as home visiting can be important to ensuring that eligible families receive federal assistance promoting food security. Further, targeted efforts to overcome barriers to SNAP enrollment continue to be important.