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Reaching Those in Need: Estimates of State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2018, May 2021—USDA/FNS

By June 15, 2021No Comments

This annual report from USDA/FNS provides estimates of state SNAP participation rates for all eligible people and working poor people for fiscal year 2018. Additionally, the report provides estimates of participating and eligible seniors. The estimates found in this report can be useful to the state and to advocates by providing data to assess recent program performance and focus efforts to improve access. This report also provides states with a relative measure of how their participation rates compares to the national average.

SNAP participation rates for all eligible people in 2018

The report estimates state level SNAP participation for all eligible people during an average month in fiscal year 2018 and in the two previous fiscal years. Nationally, 82 percent of eligible people received SNAP benefits in FY 2018. When looking at regions across the U.S., our very own Northeast Region had the highest participation rate at 90 percent of all eligible people participating in SNAP, which is significantly higher than most other regions.

In NYS, 89 percent of eligible people received SNAP benefits in FY 2018, putting us above the national average. NYS comes in 16th for 2018 when compared to all other states. When comparing all 3 years from 2016 to 2018, New York had a significantly higher participation rate for all eligible people than half of all the states in our nation.

SNAP participation rates for working poor people in 2018

This report also provides estimates of state participation rates for individuals in eligible “working poor” households (households with earnings) over the same period. Although SNAP provides important support for working families, historically, the working poor have participated at rates substantially below those of all eligible persons.

Nationally, 74 percent of individuals in eligible working poor households received SNAP benefits in 2018. In NYS, 75 percent of individuals in eligible working poor households participated in SNAP in 2018.

SNAP estimates of participating and eligible seniors 2016 – 2018

Finally, the report provides estimates of participating and eligible seniors (those 60 and older) for fiscal years 2016-2018. Compared to all states in the nation, NYS ranked first in both 2016 and 2017 for serving the largest percentage of seniors with SNAP. Participation rates for seniors in NYS reached a high of 79 percent in 2017, but dropped back to 73 percent in 2018 (2016 rate was 73 percent). This report finds that close to 195,000 seniors in NYS are eligible, but not participating in SNAP.

For more information, find the summary and full report at USDA/FNS.