Tags: food | stamps | rises | recession

Food Stamp Use Hits 20% in Four States, DC

Friday, 21 Sep 2012 10:34 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Three years after the 2007-09 recession officially ended, more Americans are receiving food stamps during the supposed “recovery” than at the end of the recession.

At the beginning of the recession, fewer than one in 10 Americans received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly called food stamps. That rose to 11.4 percent at the end of the recession, and has since risen to 14.9 percent, according to a report from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

Nearly 47 million Americans are now receiving SNAP benefits each month, which means that more than one in seven are using food stamps, a record non-emergency high.

In the District of Columbia, 22 percent of the population uses food stamps, and more than one-in-five uses them in Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee.

“Our results demonstrate that levels seen since the end of this recession are far higher than in prior recoveries,” observes Diana Furchtgott-Roth, author of the report.

A major reason for the increase in usage is the expansion of benefits. This year a family of four can qualify for SNAP benefits even if its gross monthly income is nearly $30,000.

“The increase in food stamp usage following the most recent 2007-09 recession vis-à-vis the smaller increases in other recessions is troubling,” said Furchtgott-Roth.

“While assisting and empowering those who are truly in need, we must guard against creating perverse incentives to depend on public assistance for long-term sustenance.”

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