the benefit reduction rate, and the calculation of net income deductions)—are important to consider in defining adequate allotments. The committee reviewed the evidence for the impact of these factors and characteristics on the purchasing power of SNAP allotments and assessed their role in contributing to the feasibility of defining allotment adequacy.
STUDY TASK AND APPROACH
In response to questions about whether there are different ways to define the adequacy of SNAP allotments consistent with the program goals of improving food security and access to a healthy diet, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a study to examine the feasibility of defining the adequacy of SNAP allotments, specifically:
• the feasibility of establishing an objective, evidence-based, science-driven definition of the adequacy of SNAP allotments consistent with the program goals of improving food security and access to a healthy diet, as well as other relevant dimensions of adequacy; and
• data and analyses needed to support an evidence-based assessment of the adequacy of SNAP allotments.
In addressing its task, the committee considered questions posed by the sponsor with respect to the above two primary dimensions of the task. These questions provided further guidance for the committee’s review of the evidence. Appendix E outlines these additional questions and indicates where they are addressed in the report.
The committee conducted a comprehensive review of the current evidence, including the peer-reviewed published literature and peer-reviewed government reports. Although not given equal weight with peer-reviewed publications, some non-peer-reviewed publications from nongovernmental organizations and stakeholder groups also were considered because they provided additional insight into the behavioral aspects of participation in nutrition assistance programs. In addition to its evidence review, the committee held a data gathering workshop that tapped a range of expertise relevant to its task.
To examine the feasibility of defining the adequacy of SNAP allotments, the committee constructed a framework (Figure S-1) showing the constraints on a household’s ability to achieve program goals. To define the components of the framework and establish the boundaries of its evidence review, the committee focused on the two dimensions of its task—the feasibility of objectively defining SNAP benefit adequacy consistent with improving food security and access to a healthy diet, and data and analyses