Potential SNAP applicants often rely on SNAP websites to find eligibility information, enrollment instructions, and accommodation options. This dashboard ranks the accessibility and accommodation information located on SNAP websites. The SNAP Scoring and Information pages include additional information.
Data was collected from SNAP information and enrollment webpages from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and New York City from June through August of 2021. These SNAP webpages were obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Directory. In cases where the USDA link was broken, researchers searched for the “[LOCATION] snap program” and used the first result.
Based on key principles of universal design and accessibility, scoring included three areas:
- Flexibility of SNAP Enrollment Options (6 points maximum): Scores were determined by the total number of modalities available for enrolling in SNAP. One point was assigned for each of the following enrollment methods: in-person, online, email, mail, telephone, and TTY. To receive credit, the method had to be clearly listed as an option on the SNAP landing or enrollment page. For all modalities except in-person enrollment, one point was given if the method was state-provided, and one-half point was given if the method required looking up information for one’s local jurisdiction. On the other hand, in-person enrollment by local jurisdiction received a full point, as physical proximity is prioritized here.
- Efficiency of SNAP Enrollment (6 points maximum): Scores were determined based on ease of access to SNAP eligibility information, application forms, customer support, and information about accommodations for applicants with disabilities. One point was assigned for each of the following items found on the SNAP landing page or a directly linked webpage: (1) eligibility information; (2) links to both online and PDF enrollment forms (one-half point if only one was available); (3) large-print PDF enrollment form; (4) phone number for SNAP customer support (one-half point if not SNAP-specific, but still customer-facing); (5) TTY number for SNAP customer support; (6) state-provided accommodations and specific instructions for requesting them.
- Accessibility of SNAP Websites (6 points maximum): Scores were determined based on an automated accessibility assessment score and a high-level manual accessibility assessment score of both the SNAP landing page and registration pages. These data were normalized to the WebAIM Million sample of one million homepages to indicate how the tested website compares to web pages generally across the web. The overall accessibility values were the average of the automated scores and manual scores for each SNAP program. Accessibility scores were based on tertiles of these total values, as follows: the lowest tertile (values below 4.3) received 0 points, the middle tertile (values at or above 4.3 and below 7.0) received 3 points, and the highest tertile (values of 7.0 or above) received 6 points.
The total SNAP score was calculated as the sum of the sub-scores across all three areas outlined above. A total of 18 points was possible. Higher scores indicate more accessible SNAP websites and more disability-inclusive SNAP enrollment information and processes.
Table 2. Flexibility of SNAP Enrollment Scores Across the United States, 2021
|wdt_ID||State||Flexibility Score Rank||Flexibility in SNAP Enrollment Score (6 pts max)||In-Person Enrollment||Online Enrollment||Email Enrollment||Mail Enrollment||Telephone Enrollment||TTY Enrollment|
|9||District of Columbia||20||2.5||1||1||0||0.5||0||0|
|State||Flexibility Score Rank||Flexibility in SNAP Enrollment Score (6 pts max)||In-Person Enrollment||Online Enrollment||Email Enrollment||Mail Enrollment||Telephone Enrollment||TTY Enrollment|
Table 3. Efficiency of SNAP Enrollment Scores Across the United States, 2021
|wdt_ID||State||Efficiency Score Rank||Efficiency of SNAP Enrollment Score (6 pts max)||Enrollment Accommodations||Direct Link to Eligibility Information||Enrollment Form Location||Helpline||TTY Helpline||Direct Link to Large Print Enrollment Form|
|9||District of Columbia||11||4.0||0||1||1||1||1||0|
|State||Efficiency Score Rank||Efficiency of SNAP Enrollment Score (6 pts max)||Enrollment Accommodations||Direct Link to Eligibility Information||Enrollment Form Location||Helpline||TTY Helpline||Direct Link to Large Print Enrollment Form|
Table 4. Accessibility of SNAP Website Scores Across the United States, 2021
|wdt_ID||State||Accessibility Score Rank||SNAP Website Accessibility Score (6 pts max)||SNAP Website Accessibility Value||Automated Accessibility Score||Manual Accessibility Score|
|State||Accessibility Score Rank||SNAP Website Accessibility Score (6 pts max)||SNAP Website Accessibility Value||Automated Accessibility Score||Manual Accessibility Score|
These scores are limited to data collected from SNAP webpages, as this is the information available to potential applicants, but there may be additional barriers found throughout the SNAP enrollment process. We did not create new SNAP application accounts or initiate an online application to obtain data. Additional information about SNAP enrollment accessibility and accommodations may be available after an account is created or subsequent steps of the enrollment process. In addition, there may be barriers encountered in the SNAP recertification or during administrative tasks, such as address changes, which were not evaluated in this project. Additional data is still needed to provide the full picture of disability inclusion and accessibility throughout the SNAP enrollment process. State SNAP webpages may change over time. URLs that were scored and ranked previously may no longer be included in the current ranking if the website URL has been changed.