Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Many Children in HHS Safety Net Programs Are Eligible for Nutrition Assistance But Are Not Enrolled

Publication Date
Suzanne Macartney, Robin Ghertner

Nutrition assistance programs have been shown to increase children’s health and well-being and decrease the risk of child maltreatment. At the same time, food insecurity rose in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report analyzes the number of children served by HHS safety net programs who were eligible but not enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in 2018.

  • Among children ages zero to four served by HHS safety net programs, 87 percent were eligible for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), in 2018.
  • Thirty-nine percent of young children served by HHS safety net programs – 3.2 million – were eligible for WIC but not receiving the benefit.
  • Fifty-five percent of children age 0 to 17 who participated in HHS safety net programs were eligible for SNAP.
  • Nine percent of children served by HHS safety net programs – 2.7 million – were eligible for SNAP but did not get the benefit.
  • HHS programs could explore how to facilitate families’ knowledge and receipt of WIC and SNAP benefits to ensure they receive nutrition assistance.

Related Products:

*This content is in the process of Section 508 review. If you need immediate assistance accessing this content, please submit a request to Suzanne Macartney, Content will be updated pending the outcome of the Section 508 review.

Product Type
ASPE Data Point
Location- & Geography-Based Data
National Data
Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) | Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) | Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) | Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) | Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) | Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)