Mandatory Spending

Function 600 - Income Security

Tighten Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

CBO periodically issues a compendium of policy options (called Options for Reducing the Deficit) covering a broad range of issues, as well as separate reports that include options for changing federal tax and spending policies in particular areas. This option appears in one of those publications. The options are derived from many sources and reflect a range of possibilities. For each option, CBO presents an estimate of its effects on the budget but makes no recommendations. Inclusion or exclusion of any particular option does not imply an endorsement or rejection by CBO.

This option would eliminate broad-based categorical eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for some households. Specifically, for households that do not include an elderly or disabled person and are eligible for SNAP under current law because all household members receive or are authorized to receive noncash benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, eligibility for SNAP would instead be determined through income and asset requirements. CBO estimates that the option would yield federal savings of $8.1 billion from 2019 to 2028. The largest source of uncertainty in that estimate is CBO's estimate of the number of participants who would be affected by the option. To estimate that number, CBO relies on administrative data that include detailed information about participants' income but do not generally include information about their assets. As a result, determining precisely how many people would remain eligible for SNAP if they were subject to the asset requirements is difficult.