Feasibility of Improved Estimates of Trafficking

Project Overview

Trafficking is the exchange of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for cash instead of food. The practice is illegal and diverts resources from achieving the goal of the program, which is to improve the nutritional status of needy individuals. The trafficking of program benefits has been a longstanding concern.

Insight conducted this study for the Food and Nutrition Service to determine the feasibility of using a national probability sample of SNAP-authorized retailers to calculate trafficking estimates and produce retailer trafficking estimates by store type.

For this project, Insight—

  • Developed a detailed understanding of project needs and requirements
  • Conducted a thorough document review
  • Interviewed external experts
  • Developed a sampling plan
  • Developed a data collection approach and optional approaches plus costing estimates for each approach
  • Prepared a final report

The final report described the results of the feasibility assessment, including the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, and evaluated all approaches using criteria established at the outset of the project. The report identified study limitations and next steps and addressed requirements for developing an annual estimation process for SNAP trafficking using a nationally representative sample.


Final report, Feasibility of Improved Estimates of Trafficking (August 2014)