Saturday, February 09, 2013

Food Stamp Use Goes Up; More Than 47.6 Million Americans Receive Benefits

Latest federal numbers include disaster assistance for Hurricane Sandy...
The Department of Agriculture late on Friday posted the latest figures for Food Stamp usage, which show an increase in spending and enrollment for November 2012, the most recent month for which data is available.  The Department also issued revised numbers for October, which are higher than those previously disclosed.

In November, 47,692,896 Americans received benefits in what is officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), at a cost of $6.47 billion

That's 141,106 more Americans than received benefits in October, when 47,551,829 Americans were enrolled (USDA previously calculated 47,525,329 citizens).  Revised spending for October was noted as $6.34 billion for the month.

The November figures include disaster assistance from Hurricane Sandy, according to USDA; the storm made landfall on the East Coast in the last week of October.  As of Feb. 4, 2013, the federal government provided disaster nutrition assistance, including SNAP replacement benefits and USDA Foods, to disaster survivors in 13 states.  Details are here  [PDF].

The average individual SNAP benefit in November was $133.38, while the average household benefit was $276.44.

USDA recorded an all-time high SNAP enrollment for the month of September 2012, when 47,710,283 American received benefits at a cost of $6,406,059,469, and 607,559 people were added to the rolls between August and September, for the largest single-month spike in SNAP enrollment during President Obama's first term in office.   
USDA has also revised these numbers from its original data release, which noted 47,710,324 citizens received benefits at a cost of $6,407,024,21.  The monthly enrollment figure is still a record breaker.

Fiscal Year 2012 had the highest SNAP participation and spending in US history, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement that summarizes the receipts and outlays of the federal government.  The government spent $80,401,000,000 between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2012.  That's a $2.7 billion increase from the $77,637,000,000 spent in FY 2011.