SNAP work requirements increase mental health care use

Lindsay Allen*, Diana Henry, Alicia Atwood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: We measured the impact of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work requirements on mental health care use. Data Sources and Study Setting: We used 2015–2018 West Virginia Medicaid and SNAP data. Study Design: Nine counties were exposed to SNAP work requirements. Using an event study framework, we assessed how this changed the probability and number of visits for depression and anxiety in the treatment versus the control group. Data Collection/Extraction Methods: The sample included individuals aged 18–49, enrolled in both SNAP and Medicaid at the start of the study. Dually eligible individuals were excluded. Principal Findings: At baseline, the probability of having a mood disorder visit was 6.1% among women and 5.3% among men, rising by 0.9 percentage points (SE 0.4, relative change +14.1%) among women and 0.7 percentage points (SE 0.3, relative change +13.0%) among men after exposure to work requirements. The probability of having an anxiety visit rose by 1.0 (SE 0.4) percentage points among women, a 17.8% relative increase over the baseline of 5.8%. Among men, the likelihood of having an anxiety visit increased by 1.0 percentage points (SE 0.5), a relative change of 24.3% over a baseline probability of 5.0%, though this effect occurred much more gradually compared to women. Conclusions: Exposure to SNAP work requirements was associated with increases in health care use for mood disorders and anxiety among enrollees. The policy's effect differed between men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Services Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Medicaid
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • food insecurity
  • policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'SNAP work requirements increase mental health care use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this