The Congressional Budget Office unveiled a report on the food stamp program -- known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- that found that one in seven Americans received benefits in fiscal 2011. That's the highest participation rate on record.
The CBO report, issued April 19, describes the program, its beneficiaries, recent trends in participation and spending and some possible approaches to changing how it operates. Release of the report is timely as funding for SNAP, as well as other domestic nutrition programs, will be a major portion of spending in the next farm bill.
A CBO summary of the report noted that "in 2010, about three out of four SNAP households included a child, a person age 60 or older or a disabled person. Most people who received SNAP benefits lived in households with very low income, about $8,800 per year on average in that year. The average monthly SNAP benefit per household was $287, or $4.30 per person per day. On average, SNAP benefits boosted gross monthly income by 39% for all participating households and by 45% for households with children.
"On average, 45 million people received SNAP benefits each month in fiscal year 2011, which represents a 70% increase over the roughly 26 million people (or one of every 11) who received benefits in 2007. Outlays for SNAP benefits (not including administrative costs) more than doubled during that period, from about $30 billion to $72 billion," the CBO report adds.
You can check out the report at cbo.gov/publications/43173.