Monday, December 06, 2004

How many food stamp participants get WIC?

The federal government spent a record $41.6 billion on food assistance programs in 2003. The 15 food assistance programs are administered separately with only partial coordination. Still, to understand their impact we should think of these programs as a bundle of services. In the early part of this decade, I was USDA's project officer for an effort to coordinate administrative records for the Food Stamp Program and WIC in three states, so that program operators would know how many participants in one program are also getting help from the other. The project's excellent team of contract researchers at Abt Associates, Inc., has just completed their series of three reports. The third report shows that 84-94 percent of food stamp infants also received WIC benefits at the same time. But only 50-57 percent of food stamp children under age 5 also received WIC benefits at the same time.

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