April 3, 2008
Food Stamp Use Approaches a Record High
The New York Times reported that the number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach a record high of 28 million this year (the U.S. population is estimated at over 303 million; therefore nearly 10% of the U.S. population is receiving food stamps).
According to the article, although food stamp use has fluctuated since the program was implemented in the 1960’s, the recent upward trend is attributed to economic slowdown and inflation. In Michigan, one in 8 residents now receives food stamps, and the caseload has more than doubled since 2000.
Food stamp eligibility is determined by a complex formula, but generally recipients must have incomes below 130% of the poverty line.
Congress is considering bills that would alter the food stamp eligibility formula to more closely track the cost of living, but the bills may be stalled as part of partisan farm policy disagreements. The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed the current status of the farm bill in Congress.
A short history of the food stamp program is available from at the USDA website.
Thank you to William Mitchell College of Law student Ellen Laine for preparing this post.
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