Food Stamp Program (FSP) statutes and regulations provide State agencies with numerous policy options. State agencies use this flexibility to improve how the program works in meeting the nutritional needs of low-income people across the nation. Choosing certain options can facilitate program design goals such as removing or reducing barriers to access and sustained participation for low-income families and individuals, providing better support for those working or looking for work, targeting benefits to those most in need, streamlining administration and field operations, and coordinating FSP activities with those of other programs. With passage of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, the array of policy options was significantly expanded in several key areas.
The earliest effective date by which interested State agencies could implement the additional options from the Farm Bill was October 2002. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) intermittently surveys State agencies administering the Food Stamp Program to determine which policy options are in use. Information about State agency choices among policy options is subject to frequent change. This report catalogs choices in effect as of October 2003. Several States have plans to implement various options at later dates. Those choices will be reflected in future editions of this report.
The first section of the report describes the options and lists the States that have selected each of them. The new options presented here from the Farm Bill are denoted with the Farm Bill logo. Information is shown in tabular and map formats. Due to limitations of the mapping program used, Guam and the Virgin Islands are not included in the geographical displays. See the map legends for information on these territories. The second section lists the States in alphabetical order and shows the status of each State agency in relation to each policy option. Please contact John Knaus (703-305-2098) with questions, corrections, or suggestions about this edition of the State Options Report. (author abstract)