Understanding the effects of text reminders on reducing SNAP churn

"Churning” is when eligible transitional benefit program participants fail to renew, temporarily dropping out of their program before reentering within four months. Churn is a widespread issue across transitional benefit programs, negatively impacting participants and administering agencies. This proposed intervention will assess whether a low-cost scalable texting program can reduce churn for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Participants in one treatment group will receive text messages that simplify the interim report and re-certification process with reminders, information, and direct links. A second treatment arm will receive reminders only, while a control group will experience the current procedures of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance. The text messages aim to reduce informational and behavioral barriers program participants face and thus lessen churn. We estimate an overall sample size around 60,000 over the course of three months. We will iterate three times during the project, testing timing of the texts and identifying heterogeneous effects. The primary outcome of interest is churn probability. We will also assess completing process steps on time rates, submitting complete forms or verification rates, interview completion rates (including as-scheduled and post-missed interview), approval and closure rates, and the average number of days that forms are submitted before deadlines.

RFP Cycle:
SLII RFP V [Sept 2019]
United States of America
  • Susanna Loeb
  • Full project