Commodity Supplemental Food Program

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The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides supplementary United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food packages to the low-income elderly of at least 60 years of age.[1][2] It is one of the fifteen federally-funded nutrition assistance programs of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), a USDA agency.[3] The CSFP currently serves about 600,000 low‐income people every month.[4]

CSFP formerly served low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women and children, until February 6, 2014, when the responsibility to supplement their diets was shifted to the WIC: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.[5]


CSFP began in 1969, and originally aimed at providing foods to pregnant or postpartum women, infants, and children up to age six. And as every Farm Bill passed, the program evolved.[6] In 1973, the program was officially authorized and funded with the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act, and with the 1977 Farm Bill, its current name was set.

Eight years later, with the Food Security Act of 1985, the program expanded to include elderly participation, albeit at a lower priority than the original ones. However, in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the priority status given women, infants, and children before the elderly in program participation is removed and food packages are distributed equally.[7]

With the Agricultural Act of 2014,[8] the Commodity Supplemental Food Program stopped serving women and receiving new eligible children, focusing only on serving to the seniors. And as of February 2016, the remaining women and children have been completely phased out of the program[9]


In order to be eligible for CSFP as of 2016, certain requirements need to be met:

Territory: The program is available in every state;[10] the district of Columbia as well as the Red Lake and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations.[1]

Age: Individuals interested in joining must be at least 60 years old.

Income limits: Elderly candidates' incomes are measured under 130% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, while remaining children's household incomes (under six years old) are evaluated under 185%:[1][11]

Federal Poverty Guidelines - 100% Children - 185% Elderly - 130%
Household Size Annual Annual Monthly Weekly Annual Monthly Weekly
1 $11,880 $21,978 $1,832 $423 $15,444 $1,287 $297
2 16,020 29,637 2,470 570 20,826 1,736 401
3 20,160 37,296 3,108 718 26,208 2,184 504
4 24,300 44,955 3,747 865 31,590 2,633 608
5 28,440 52,614 4,385 1,012 36,972 3,081 711
6 32,580 60,273 5,023 1,160 42,354 3,530 815
7 36,730 67,951 5,663 1,307 47,749 3,980 919
8 40,890 75,647 6,304 1,455 53,157 4,430 1,023
For each household member add 4,160 7,696 642 148 5,408 451 109

Food packages[edit]

CSFP food monthly distribution rates for 2016 include:

  • Cereals, dry ready-to-eat; farina; rolled oats; potatoes; pasta
  • Fruits and vegetables: beans, carrots, peas,
  • Proteins: beef stew, chilli, chicken, salmon
  • Milk, peanut butter and cheese.[12]

According to Policy Memorandum FD-079, redistribution of CSFP food packages is not permitted.[13]


CSFP funding is currently set by USDA at $74.53 per participant slot every year, as a system based on caseload allocation. It then provides food and administrative funds to the states, which are used for the storage, delivery & distribution of food packages.[14][15]

As a discretionary program, CSFP can only serve as many eligible participants as funding per state allows. This may drastically vary, since some states count with the support of non-profit local distribution agencies, and Feeding America food banks are only available in 22 states.[4]

Federal funding is reauthorized through the Farm Bill every 5 years.[16] In 2016, the total of administrative funds amounted to $45,854,335, with a total caseload of 619,000 participants.[15]: I85, L85 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Commodity Supplemental Food Program - Fact Sheet" (PDF). Food and Nutrition Service. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  2. ^ "The Role of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) in Nutritional Assistance to Mothers, Infants, Children, and Seniors". The Urban Institute. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  3. ^ "What Is CSFP?". National CSFP Association. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Commodity Supplemental Food Program" (PDF). Feeding America. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Commodity Foods". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  6. ^ "CSFP overview: Program History, Legislation, Regulations, & Policy" (PDF). Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  7. ^ "CSFP Overview" (PDF). Food and Nutrition Service. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  8. ^ "Commodity Supplemental Food Program Implementation of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79)". California Department of Education. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  9. ^ "Revised Food Package Maximum Monthly Distribution Rates" (PDF). Commodity Supplemental Food Program. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  10. ^ "History of CSFP expansion | National Commodity Supplemental Food Program Association". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  11. ^ "Income Guidelines (IGs) for 2016" (PDF). U.S. Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 26, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "Revised Food Package Maximum Monthly Distribution Rates" (PDF). Food and Nutrition Service. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  13. ^ "Food Distribution National Policy Memorandum" (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  14. ^ "On CSFP" (PDF). Indiana State Department Of Health. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Final CSFP Caseload and Administrative Funding - 2016". United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  16. ^ "Food Assistance Programs TEFAP EFAP CSFP". Retrieved August 22, 2016.