What Is SNAP?
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Illustration shows a grocery store setting, including a cashier and register, a woman pushing a cart, a man handing over a green card, and a woman leaving with a bag of groceries.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps eligible, low-income individuals and families in Pennsylvania. SNAP benefits are provided monthly via an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, which recipients use to purchase foods at their local grocery stores and farmers markets. SNAP benefits are not cash, and can only be used on food purchases.

 

Blue bar that says "Facts about SNAP."

Icon of the Congress building with money.

SNAP is 100% federally funded
 NO SIGNS cover a group of cleaning products, a bottle of alcohol and pack of cigarettes, a hamburger and french fries, and a pill bottle.
SNAP must be used to purchase groceries.
It cannot be used to buy nonfoods, alcohol
or cigarettes, hot foods, or medicines.

 


 

NUMBER OF PEOPLE ON SNAP IN PA: 1.8 MILLION     

 

icon of child silhouette695,405 are children
$243 is highlighted in a large bubble
is the average monthly benefit
amount for a two-person household.
That's about $4 per person daily.
 
 
 
 
  icon of older adult with cane silhouette184,406 are older adults
 
  icon of person in wheelchair silhouette687,739 have disabilities
 *Children and older adult
numbers overlap with
disability numbers.
    
  
 
ABAWDs stands for "Able-Bodied
Adults Without Dependents," who
are subject to work requirements.
 
   icon of standing person silhouette17,171 are ABAWDs


 


 

What is SNAP? Why snap matters bar 

 
 

For Children

 SNAP improves

For Seniors

Seniors who are food
insecure have
graducation cap iconHigh School Graduation Rates
Diets that are less nutritiousdonut icon 
Adult Earnings coin icon
health chart iconWorse health outcomes
What is SNAP? child report Adult Health
Higher risk for depressionsad faced emoji
 
 
Seniors enrolled in SNAP
doctors arm in a heart
Kids in families receiving
SNAP were significantly
more likely to be classified
as ‘well’ than kids whose
families were eligible
but did not receive SNAP. 
heart iconHave better heath
 Use less acute/long-term care hospital bed icon  
money bag icon
Cost less in Medicaid/Medicare when
compared to seniors not on SNAP

  

 


 

Better health care

A four-year study in Maryland compared residents age 65 and older who receive
SNAP with those who did not. The study found that SNAP beneficiaries had:
 first aid kit icon
13% fewer hospitalizations 
doctor icon
a 23% reduction in nursing facility use
 ambulance icon
10% fewer ER visits              
calendar icon
a shorter length of stay when in
a hospital or nursing facility
money bag icon
$2,120/year less in medical costs

 

 

Original publish date: February 2018. View PDF version for sources.