Feasibility of Revising the SNAP Quality Control Review Process

Project Overview

This study assessed the feasibility of revising the quality control (QC) system for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from the current two-tier process to a one-tier federal system. The study identified all processes and components required for a one-tier process, including the procedural, staffing, and organizational changes; the technological infrastructure requirements; access to state and federal databases that would be required; the data-sharing agreements that would be needed; the costs and timeline of such a change; and other alternatives to the current QC process.

This feasibility study sought to address six study objectives using data obtained from a comprehensive environmental scan, interviews, and site visits with SNAP QC officials in three states, interviews with federal staff from the Food and Nutrition Service and other agencies, and interviews with subject matter experts. Specifically, Insight—

  • Conducted an environmental scan of existing literature, QC regulations, policy guidance, standard operating procedures, data system documentation, and other sources as background to the analysis
  • Held in-depth interviews with federal SNAP QC and other Food and Nutrition Service staff to gain insights into QC processes and variation across states
  • Conducted site visits to three states to interview personnel and observe data systems and procedures
  • Conducted in-depth interviews with federal agency staff to verify information provided
  • Held exploratory discussions with additional stakeholders to enhance understanding of the challenges, costs, and benefits of implementing a one-tier system and possible alternative approaches
  • Developed procedures and presented a cost model for two example models of a one-tier SNAP QC system. One model made use of all opportunities to improve QC accuracy and reduce QC costs. The second model minimized the number of changes needed to construct a one-tier system, using the existing two-tier infrastructure as much as possible


Final report

McGill, B., Thorn, B., Cody, S., Wagner, H., Ramaswamy, S., & Cunnyngham, K. (2019). Feasibility of revising the SNAP quality control review process: Final report. Prepared by Insight Policy Research, Inc. Alexandria, VA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.