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Heflin, Lopoo study on child support income exclusion for SNAP published in Social Science Quarterly

Sep 17, 2020

When States Align Social Welfare Programs: Considering the Child Support Income Exclusion for SNAP

Colleen Heflin, Leonard Lopoo & Mattie Mackenzie-Liu

Social Science Quarterly, September 2020

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin


Leonard M. Lopoo

Leonard M. Lopoo


In the United States, state social services rarely coordinate across departments, a practice that could both increase receipt and reduce administrative burden. The purpose of this article is to investigate the state-level conditions associated with the adoption of policies that benefit participants in multiple social welfare programs, focusing on the case of the child support income exclusion for SNAP benefit eligibility calculations.

Using annual data for each of the states (including the District of Columbia), the authors estimate multiple analyses to test three hypotheses regarding which factors are associated with policy adoption. They find that collaboration across social programs is more likely as state income tax revenues increase and when administrative costs are lower. The authors' findings suggest that state revenue and administrative costs are associated with state interagency alignment but find only weak evidence that political ideology is a factor.

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