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11/15/11

Summary:

  • This memo is to inform staff about an upcoming SNAP participation study that will occur in the month of November 2011.
  • In November 2011, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. will be assessing the effect of SNAP participation in Illinois.
  • On or around 11/11/11, approximately 800 SNAP households will be mailed letters from Mathematica to participate in the study. 
  • Mathematica will conduct telephone interviews with these customers starting 11/14/11 through 12/16/11. The customer will be asked to take a 25-30 minute survey over the phone about how receiving SNAP affects their food needs.
  • Only customers that receive a letter from Mathematica may participate in the study.
  • Since Mathematica is an outside entity a customer may call the FCRC with questions about legitimacy of the study. Staff should explain to the customer that this is an evaluation of the SNAP program and how it affects their food needs. 
  • Participation is voluntary and the information given is confidential. Tell the customer to call the toll-free number in the letter if they have questions about the study or need to give a new contact phone number for participation.
  • Customers will receive $2 enclosed with their initial letter. A $20 Walmart gift card will be sent to the customer within four weeks after their participation in the study.
  • Customers who do not receive their gift cards after four weeks should call the toll-free number.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is intended to help low income  individuals and families with their basic food needs and increase their access to healthy foods. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided for an increase in SNAP benefits and provided administrative funds for Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to evaluate the effect of the Program on the food needs of households receiving benefits. FNS contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to conduct the study.

Who Will Participate

In November 2011, Mathematica will conduct the study to assess the effect of SNAP participation in Illinois. An advance letter from Mathmatica will be mailed on or around 11/11/11 to: 

  • 500 households recently approved for SNAP in November 2011; and
  • 300 households who have been receiving SNAP benefits in the last 6 months.

How will Customers Participate

Mathematica will conduct telephone interviews with these customers starting 11/14/11  through 12/16/11. The customer will be asked to take a 25-30 minute survey over the phone about how receiving SNAP benefits affects their food needs. Only customers who receive a letter from Mathematica may participate in the study.

Questions about Participation

Since Mathematica is an outside entity a customer may call the FCRC with questions about the legitimacy of the study. Explain to the customer that this is an evaluation of the SNAP program and how it affects their food needs. Participation is voluntary and any information given is confidential. The customer should call the toll-free number in the letter for any other questions and if they need to give a new contact phone number for participation.

Customers will receive $2 enclosed with their initial letter. A $20 Walmart gift card will be sent to the customer within four weeks following their interview. Customers who do not receive their gift card after four weeks should call the toll-free number.

[signed copy on file]

Michelle R.B. Saddler

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services