Food Stamp Use Is Falling, and So Is the Cost
Policy + Politics

Food Stamp Use Is Falling, and So Is the Cost


Fewer Americans are using food stamps as the economy continues to chug along.  

The number of people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP and commonly referred to as food stamps, has been falling for years.

At its peak in December 2012, in the wake of the Great Recession, 47.6 million people were enrolled in SNAP. About 6.1 million people have since left the program, leaving 41.5 participants, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Costs are also falling, driven by both reduced participation and lower food prices. Families that remain in the program will receive slightly smaller maximum benefits next year, due to falling food prices. The maximum benefit in the lower 48 states will drop from $649 a month in 2017 to $640 in fiscal 2018.

The reduction in caseloads and costs is also driven in part by state-level rules that limit the duration of participation in the program for unemployed childless adults.