Improving SNAP retention with pre-filled eligibility verifications

Last registered on August 31, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Improving SNAP retention with pre-filled eligibility verifications
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008165
Initial registration date
August 30, 2021
Last updated
August 31, 2021, 1:14 PM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
UC Berkeley

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-09-01
End date
2022-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Researchers at GetCalFresh (GCF) and the California Policy Lab (CPL) will study the impact on retention in the CalFresh program (California’s instantiation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]) of pre-filling enrollees’ six-month review form, known as the SAR-7, with information from their initial application. GCF will randomly assign a subset of cases (“treatment cases”) to be directed to a pre-filled SAR-7 flow. Those not assigned to the treatment condition (“control cases”) will be directed to complete the webform using the existing SAR-7 flow, which does not include any pre-filled information. Using matched GCF records and CalFresh enrollment data, CPL will measure the differences in form submissions and enrollment between treatment and control cases to determine if pre-filling a SAR-7 using application data reduces administrative burden and the number of eligible CalFresh households who drop out of the program.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Unrath, Matthew. 2021. "Improving SNAP retention with pre-filled eligibility verifications." AEA RCT Registry. August 31. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8165-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
GCF will identify cases that enrolled in CalFresh in April or May, and which are scheduled to complete their initial SAR-7 in September or October in one of the participating counties. GCF will randomly assign a subset of these cases (“treatment cases”) to be directed to a pre-filled SAR-7 webform. Those not assigned to the treatment condition (“control cases”) will only be offered the opportunity to complete the SAR-7 using GCF’s existing webform, which does not include the pre-filled information. GCF will send all cases scheduled for the SAR-7 a tokenized link directing them to GCF’s SAR-7 page, as it regularly does. After a case member clicks on that link, they will be randomly sorted into the treatment or control group. Treatment cases will be directed to the pre-filled SAR-7 landing page, where they will be offered the chance to authenticate their identity, so that they can use the pre-filled SAR-7. Treatment cases who choose not to or who fail to authenticate will be redirected to GCF’s standard SAR-7 page. Treatment cases who successfully authenticate will continue to the pre-filled SAR-7 tool. Control cases will be immediately directed to the standard SAR-7 landing page. We will identify the impact of the pre-filled tool by measuring the difference in form submissions and enrollment between treatment and control cases, as well as between cases who use the tool and those who do not.
Intervention Start Date
2021-09-01
Intervention End Date
2021-10-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our study has two primary but associated outcomes. The first outcome is whether a client submits the SAR-7 form. We will measure the impact of our intervention on this outcome by comparing submission rates between treatment and control cases. The second outcome is whether a client remains enrolled in CalFresh in the month after the SAR-7 is due. A successful submission of a SAR-7 form (the first outcome) is a prerequisite for remaining enrolled in the subsequent month (the second outcome). We will measure the impact of our intervention on this latter outcome using state CalFresh enrollment data linked to person-level GCF files, including treatment indicators, and comparing enrollment rates in the months following September and October between treatment and control cases.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We will also measure the intervention’s impact on total months enrolled through at least twelve months after the intervention. We intend to measure a handful of secondary outcomes, as well, including: whether the pre-filled SAR-7 decreases the amount of time users spend completing the SAR-7, increases recipients’ satisfaction with the enrollment process and with participating in SNAP, and especially improves retention among more disadvantaged recipients.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Randomization will be conducted at the case level. When study participants click on the tokenized link in the SAR-7 invitation, one-half will be randomly assigned to the treatment condition and the other half to the control condition. Our randomization does not involve stratification.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
A computer program will select random number between 0 and 1, and assign case to treatment if random number is greater than .5.
Randomization Unit
SNAP case
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
NA
Sample size: planned number of observations
12,000 cases
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
6,000 cases per treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Treatment relative to control on SAR7 submissions: MDE = 2.1 percentage points. Treatment relative to control on SNAP retention: MDE = 2.2 percentage points.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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