Government shows increase of 700,000 food stamp
recipients in a single month.
March 5/09. A record 31.8 million Americans received food stamps at the
latest count, an increase of 700,000 people in one month with the United
States in recession, government figures showed Thursday.
Food stamps, which help poor people buy groceries, are the major U.S.
anti-hunger program, forecast to cost at least $51 billion in this fiscal
year ending Sept. 30, up $10 billion from fiscal 2008.
"A weakened economy means that
many more individuals are turning to SNAP/food stamps," said the Food
Research and Action Center. Last summer food stamps were renamed the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The average food stamp benefit is $115 a month for individuals and $255 a
month per household.
Enrollment for food stamps in December was up 2.2% from the previous month
with increases in all but three states. Ohio had the largest increase among
large states, up 3.4%, to 1.26 million people. Texas had the largest
enrollment, 3.05 million, up 1.8%.
The previous record for food
stamp enrollment was 31.6 million last September, which included "disaster"
stamps for states hit by hurricanes and floods.
In April, food stamp benefits
will increase temporarily by 13% under provisions of the recently enacted
economic stimulus law. Ellen Vollenger of the Food Research and Action
Center said some families will see increases of $80 a month.