Projects

Enhancing Completion Rates for SNAP Quality Control Reviews

Project Overview

A central component of the Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) program integrity efforts, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Quality Control (QC) system tracks and measures errors in eligibility and benefit determination for the program. States must conduct monthly QC reviews of households participating in SNAP (known as active SNAP cases) to assess the validity of SNAP cases, and ultimately, the SNAP payment error rate. The completion rate of sampled QC reviews has decreased nationally over the last few decades. Although it has increased somewhat in recent years, it remains below the levels targeted by FNS. SNAP QC completion rates also vary considerably among states. In response to this overall decline and interstate variation in SNAP QC completion rates, Insight conducted a study to identify factors contributing to incomplete reviews of active SNAP cases and best practices associated with high completion rates. This exploratory studied assessed the state and federal SNAP QC review processes and made recommendations to FNS and states for improving SNAP QC completion rates.

This study had four complementary study components:

  • Web and telephone survey of SNAP QC staff in 45 states and 5 FNS Regional Offices
  • Case studies of 6 state agencies and 2 FNS regional offices, including semistructured interviews and case file reviews
  • Analysis of administrative data from 6 states
  • Field rereviews of 75 recent incomplete QC cases in 3 states, including in-home visits, to assess whether incomplete reviews were conducted correctly and could have been completed

Insight’s approach for this study involved a mixed-methods design that used both primary data collection and analysis of administrative data. The final report included a description of the state QC review process and how it varied within and among states; a description of the federal QC review process in examining incomplete cases; best practices by states with higher completion rates; an analysis of the characteristics of incomplete cases as compared with completed cases; an analysis of the QC rereview of incomplete cases; and an analysis of the extent to which incomplete cases affected the overall payment rate.

Products

Final report, Enhancing SNAP Quality Control Completion Rates (January 2016), available at http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/ops/SNAPQCCompletion.pdf