Food Stamp Act (P.L. 88-525)
1. Established Food Stamps as a permanent program to improve nutrition among low-income households.
2. Required recipients to purchase food stamps, paying an amount consistent with their normal food expenditures and receiving enough food stamps for a “low-cost nutritionally adequate diet.”
3. Required states to set eligibility standards, while federal and state governments shared administrative costs.
Amendments to the Food Stamp Act (P.L. 91-671)
1. Set uniform national eligibility and work requirements, allotments, and purchase requirements.
2. Added an outreach component.
3. Expanded the program to U.S. territories.
Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 93-86)
1. Expanded the program to all political jurisdictions, and expanded benefits to drug addicts and alcoholics in treatment.
2. Set allotments to be adjusted semiannually.
3. Created a cash-out option for recipients of Supplemental Security Income.
Food Stamp Act (P.L. 95-113)
1. Eliminated the purchase requirement.
2. Set statutory income eligibility guidelines at the federal poverty level, established 10 categories of excluded income, and raised the asset limit to $1,750.
3. Eliminated categorical eligibility, penalized job quitters, and restricted eligibility for students and aliens.
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts (P.L. 97-35 & P.L. 97-253)
1981 & 1982
1. Added gross income eligibility test for applicants (unless elderly or disabled).
2. Set allotments to be adjusted annually.
3. Adjusted assets tests to count retirement accounts as resources.
4. Established an optional job-search requirement.
Hunger Prevention Act (P.L. 100-435) and Hunger Relief Act (P.L. 101-624)
1988 & 1989
1. Expanded the program in response to the hunger problem: increased benefits and allowed for periodic adjustment of minimum benefit.
2. Excluded advance earned income tax credit from income tests.
3. Set up nutrition education grants.
4. Established electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards as an alternative to paper coupons.
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (P.L. 104-193)
1. Expanded state administrative options.
2. Set new work rules and time limits for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs), and barred eligibility for most legally resident noncitizens.
3. Reduced benefits.
4. Expanded use of EBT cards.
Balanced Budget Act (P.L. 105-33) and Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Act (P.L. 105-185)
1997 & 1998
1. Restored eligibility to permanent resident aliens that were lawfully present in 1996 and were disabled or elderly, or are currently under the age of 18.
2. Exempted some ABAWDs from time limits.
3. Allowed states to purchase benefits for ineligible noncitizens and ABAWDs.
Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (P.L. 107-171)
1. Restored eligibility to qualified noncitizens who are disabled or under 18, regardless of date of entry, and to other individuals after five years years as qualified noncitizens.
2. Gave states options for simplifying eligibility, deductions, recertification, and reporting requirements.
3. Revamped quality control.
Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (P.L. 110-246)
1. Changed name to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
2. Increased the minimum benefit and standard deduction, eliminated the cap on deduction for child care expenses, and indexed asset limits to inflation.
3. Extended household simplified reporting.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (P.L. 111-5)
1. Temporarily allowed states to suspend time limits on ABAWDs.
2. Temporarily increased benefit levels.
A full legislative history of SNAP is available here.