USDA offers grants to improve SNAP customer service; The application deadline is June 27
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has $5 million in competitive grants available to improve efficiency and access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through process and technology improvements.
SNAP Process and Technology Improvement grants are awarded through a competitive application process. Multi-year grants aim to improve the experience of SNAP participants by enabling recipients to update inefficient or inefficient processes or use technology to streamline operations and provide better customer service. The application process also requires grant applicants to demonstrate how their initiatives will affect SNAP with respect to equity and inclusion, which supports the administration’s focus on promoting racial equity.
“FNS is deeply committed to improving SNAP so that all Americans can get the healthy foods they need,” said Stacy Dean, USDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “By placing the needs of SNAP applicants and recipients at the center of this grant initiative, we can leverage changes in processes and technology to achieve the end goal of making SNAP work for the people who use it. use to feed themselves and their families.”
Previous grantees have used the funding for SNAP improvements such as making it easier to use mobile apps, implementing live call centers, or creating automated text messaging notifications to remind households of key actions. necessary to maintain benefits. Once awarded, recipients have three years to spend the funds and complete their projects.
For example, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, a 2017 grantee, partnered with the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center to update its mobile apps to better meet the needs of SNAP participants. Enhancements improved the recertification process by allowing SNAP clients to use their phones and other mobile devices to receive notifications, get case status updates, upload verification documents and check their benefit balance electronics.
Applicants to this year’s PTIG will need to address at least one of the following priority areas:
- Increase the use of technological tools to increase the education of underserved populations;
- Assist in the transition of pandemic operations and improve disaster response operations; and or
- Modernize SNAP’s customer service, customer communication, and administrative processes to improve accessibility, transparency, and responsiveness.
These grants build on the Administration’s commitment to modernizing programs, reducing administrative burdens, and piloting new online tools and technologies that can provide a simple, seamless, and secure customer experience.
Eligible entities include:
- National and local agencies that administer the SNAP;
- State or local governments;
- Agencies providing health or wellness services;
- Public health or education entities; and
- Private not-for-profit entities, such as community or faith-based organizations, food banks, or other emergency food organizations.
All applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST, June 27, 2022. The three-year grants will be announced in fall 2022. For more information, please visit the SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grants for FY2022 website. FNS will award bonus points to applications from groups that have not yet received PTIG funding to promote capacity building through improved technology and processes.