Tags: Americans | Food | Stamps

Govt: One in Seven Americans Rely on Food Stamps

Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012 12:51 PM

About one in seven Americans was using food stamps for groceries in December, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Usage was up even as emergency assistance programs related to last year's Hurricane Irene were unwinding, government figures show, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Food stamp usage rose 5.5 percent in 2011, although growth slowed from its pace during the Great Recession.

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

The number of recipients in the food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), rose to 46.5 million, or 15 percent of the population in December, the Journal reports.

Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware and Iowa all saw year-over-year jumps in use by over 10 percent.

Wyoming, Michigan, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia reported decreases in the number of people receiving food stamps.

"Mississippi reported the largest share of its population relying on food stamps, more than 21 percent. One in five residents in New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington D.C. also were food-stamp recipients," the Journal adds.

SNAP officials are working to cut out fraud in the program, which costs taxpayers $750 million a year, says Kevin Concannon, U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

"This is $750 million that isn't being used to provide food to individuals and families and that issue isn't lost on us," Concannon tells Reuters.

"We want to maintain the confidence of American taxpayers because everyone is challenged in this economy — the payers as well as the folks who are benefiting from the program."

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012 12:51 PM
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