Record 20 Percent of US Households Now on Food Stamps

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 01:53 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A record number of American households collected food stamp benefits in 2013, pushing the costs to an all-time high as lawmakers begin negotiations to cut the program by billions.

According to Agriculture Department data, 20 percent of the nation's households, or about one in five, collected benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) last year, CNS News reports. Breaking down that figure even more, some 23 million households were on food stamps during any given month last year, marking an increase of about 722,675 households over 2012. '

Editor's Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself.

Because of the recession and the nation's continuing struggle to right the economy, the number of food stamp recipients has increased steadily since 2009, when 15 million households collected benefits.

But according to The New York Times, the number of food stamp recipients will be affected again by the new farm bill compromise if it passes. That legislation calls for about $9 billion in cuts to the program over the next 10 years. House Republicans had sought $40 billion in cuts, while a bipartisan Senate measure had called for no more than $4 billion.

It's still unclear whether a final bill will make it to a vote, or whether conservative House Republicans will support it, the Times noted in a piece Tuesday. President Barack Obama has also threatened to veto any bill farm bill that he believes cuts too much from the food stamp program.

Meanwhile, the number of households on food stamps varies widely from state to state. For example, the number of recipients in Arizona, Maine, and Michigan is lower, according to the Agriculture Department, than other states, such as Illinois, Kentucky, and Hawaii, where the totals have shot up.

The number of recipients in Arizona has declined from 484,907 in 2012 to 476,689 last year. But in Illinois, the numbers went up from 914,287 in 2012 to over 1 million last year.

The SNAP program has also had its share of problems with overpayments. Last year, the program made $2.1 billion in erroneous benefit payments. At the same time, however, it underpaid legitimate recipients by $500 million.

Editor's Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself. '

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