More Americans than ever using food stamps
A record 47.8 million people are enrolled in the program despite the recession's end and a stronger economy.
A lot has changed about food stamps during the past few years. For one, the program is currently called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and it has made buying groceries much easier by providing debit-style cards.
But another aspect has changed even more dramatically: The number of Americans tapping into the social-welfare program is soaring.
Enrollment in SNAP has surged 70% since 2008, reaching a record 47.8 million Americans in December. Even more shocking, that means 15% of the country receives the benefits, nearly double the rate as in 1975, when the U.S. suffered from soaring inflation, a recession and an oil crisis.
As a result, the U.S. spent a record $74.6 billion on food-stamp benefits last year, more than double what the program shelled out before the Great Recession. Remember, that downturn officially ended in 2009, and by many measures the economy has improved since the financial crisis and housing meltdown.
So why are the food stamp rolls expanding? It can all be explained by a slow job market, more pockets of poverty and a push from states to get residents to apply for SNAP, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The program's expansion goes back to 1996, when President Bill Clinton overhauled the welfare system. That law has allowed states to loosen asset and income tests for SNAP applicants, which means people with savings and relatively higher incomes than in previous years are now qualifying, The Journal notes.
But that doesn't mean the program is courting the well-off or even the middle classes. Generally, a household's income can't be more than 130% of the poverty level, which is about $25,000 for a family of three, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit that looks at issues that affect low- and middle-income families.
An official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture told The Journal he expects the rolls to shrink as the economy continues to improve.
"While the perception may be different, the actual raw numbers, almost 50 million people (under the federal poverty level), is certainly one of the principal reasons why we see the enrollment increases in the SNAP program," Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the Department of Agriculture, told the newspaper.
But the food-stamp market has become so large that major companies are targeting recipients. Monster Beverage (MNST) has changed its labeling so that it can qualify for food stamp purchases, as MSN moneyNOW reported last week.
Changes might be coming to the program. Congress will revisit SNAP later this year, and Republicans have pushed for new limits on who can receive assistance, The Journal notes.
"Food stamps have actually saved my life, really," Diane Hendricks, 43, told the paper. After losing her job and divorcing, she relies on SNAP to provide $380 a month to feed herself and her two kids. "The benefits helped me get back on my feet. It was one less thing to worry about so I was able to look for work."
Food Stamps are one of the most abused and wasteful social program this country has ever developed. A family of four receives more money monthly then my family of five spends a month on food. The amount paid out each month should be cut by at least one third. Purchases by food stamps should be restricted to the following: Fresh/frozen non prepared meats & fish, fresh/frozen non prepared vegetables, deli meats/cheeses, canned goods, breads, non sweetened dairy, and juices. The following would be banned from being purchased by food stamps: Soda, bottled water, power and energy drinks, coffee, tea, ice cream, candy, energy bars, any pre-prepared meals or sandwiches, snacks/junk food, pet food, cigarettes and alcohol. If these rules would be followed, no one would be hungry and we the tax payers would save billions.
Slaves were dependent on their masters for shelter.
Slaves were dependent on their masters for medical care.
Welcome to the new age of slavery. Only this time around, the government is the master and most of those who are enslaved are too stupid to realize their situation.
"Enrollment in SNAP has surged 70% since Obama took office, reaching a record 47.8 million Americans" They like to put president's pictures on US currency, they should put Obama's picture on food stamps!
Who is trampling the poor? The system needs an overhaul. I'm not going to subsidize sodas, junk food, candy and such. It's supposed to be FOOD. I don't have to read stories, I shop with a recipient friend who has steak and mushroom dinners, I get ground turkey and pork, spam,and whatever fish is on sale, lol no steak for me and hubby for several years. She is always asking why I don't buy all these new snacks and desserts that she gets. Are you serious? I can't afford all that. She gets way more than she needs for her family. I know several who trade card use for cash and are still easily feeding the family with whats left. No one is giving me money for steak dinners and ice cream, no one is subsidizing my health insurance, no, I'm paying more to subsidize others, having to cut back on what I can put into my retirement while being told I will get less benefits because I should be putting more away- putting off doctor visits. Of course I'm angry.
14 MILLION on disability . Up 100% from 2008
DOUBLED in 4 YEARS
I wonder why ? What coincides with that , any event occur 4 years ago ?
Oh THAT's right we have our first "black" president !
hmm tough one.
Some counties in AL have 25% of the POP on Disability .
WHO IS WATCHING THE SHIP ?
The monkeys are RUNNING WILD in the zoo. They are running the zoo.
Foodstamps , disability , welfare
Why would these animals EVER work a day ?
The problem with the title of this article is that "recession's end" and "stronger economy" should be in quotes, like my comment has them. There is no correlation between equity market strength and what the economy is actually doing. Books are cooked, numbers are manipulated for the Lamestream media and equity bubbles form when money flows free, however, you can't hide empirical data like food stamp usage, it's there, no interpretation needed...
125,000 jobs "created" on average each month, by the Obuma administration years 1-5
250,000 people GO on DISABILITY EACH MONTH !!
NET LOSS OF 125,000 jobs PER MONTH
WHO IS PAYING FOR THESE DEADBEAT ANIMALS ON THE DOLE ?
They should put that EBT/Food Stamp logo on some bras for strippers and work shirts for liquor store counter persons.
Not to worry ......... This proves that your new obamacare will be handled with equal expertise.
1.You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2.What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3.The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4.You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
5.When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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