Benefit Redemption Patterns in SNAP
Using descriptive and regression analysis, this report examined redemption patterns of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in fiscal year (FY) 2017, made comparisons with findings from two similar studies conducted for FY 2003 (Cole & Lee, 2005) and FY 2009 (Castner & Henke, 2011), and identified atypical spending behaviors. In particular, the report focused on examining the timing and amount of transactions and the rate at which households exhaust their benefits. The study used three primary sources of data: electronic benefit transfer (EBT) transaction data from the Anti-Fraud Locator using the EBT Retailer Transactions System (known as ALERT), data describing SNAP retailers from the Store Tracking and Redemption System (known as STARS), and data describing characteristics of SNAP households from the SNAP Quality Control database. Additional data included county poverty data, county adjacency information, and state EBT issuance schedules.