Do State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Policies affect Older Adults and People with Disabilities?
This study examines the effect of state SNAP policies on access to SNAP benefits for the older
adults and people with disabilities. Although SNAP is a federal program, states have considerable
power to choose which policies to adopt, when to adopt them, and to what extent those policies
cover their population. Previous research has focused on a single policy database and using policy
indices to measure the impact of SNAP policies on caseloads. Using state policy variation from
the SNAP Policy Database and the SNAP State Option Reports, this study uses two-way fixed
effects and difference-in-differences models to understand the effects of both individual SNAP
policies and the policy indices. Results indicate that SNAP policies that improve eligibility and
reduce transaction costs increase participation among older adults and people with disabilities and
restrictive policies reduce participation. The magnitudes of these coefficients are larger for the
older adults and people with disabilities compared to the general population.
The research reported herein was performed pursuant to grant RDR18000003 from the US Social Security Administration (SSA) funded as part of the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium. The opinions and conclusions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent the opinions or policy of SSA, any agency of the Federal Government, or NBER. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the contents of this report. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. We thank seminar participants at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Kansas for helpful comments.