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Food Stamp Program Sees Sharp Increase

Even as more people rely on food stamps, one in three could be eligible for assistance.

food stamps

Photo: Clementine Gallot (flickr)

The food stamps program switched from paper coupons to a debit system in 2004 and was renamed Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits in 2008.

Americans relying on food stamps has risen 74 percent since 2007, Reuters reports.

Food Assistance Has Become Income Assistance

Unlike 20 years ago, many using government assistance have some form of income.

Job growth since the recession started has been slow, and mostly in the form of lower income wages.

Even as more people rely on food stamps, one in three could be eligible for assistance.

About 15 percent of the population uses the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP, commonly still referred to as food stamps.

Until recently, food assistance benefits were largely bipartisan and immune to cuts. The growth in usage combined with the debt crisis has some Republicans calling for a cap on SNAP.

House Republicans have called for a “block grant” instead of the current system that allows for emergency growth in the program.

Increase In Children’s Poverty

As food assistance is needed, more children are considered impoverished.

Based on data collected by Kids Count, there has been an 18 percent increase in children living in poverty between 2000 and 2009. Connecticut, Texas, Michigan and Alabama are just a few states bringing attention to the alarming trend.

Mississippi has the largest percentage of children living in poverty, at 31 percent, with Alabama and several other states following at 25 percent.

Read More:

  • Country wrestles with spike in food stamp use (MSNBC)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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  • Food Stamps Network

    Unemployed for two years and the checks have stopped coming so food stamps are becoming

    a necessity for more families.

    The amazing thing is that one in three who meet the criteria have not tried to file a food stamps application.

    Who’s to blame? Who cares? The people in need.

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