Food stamp use rises to record 45.8 million
Friday, August 5, 2011
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Nearly 15% of the U.S. population relied on food stamps in May, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The number of Americans using the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — more commonly referred to as food stamps — shot to an all-time high of 45.8 million in May, the USDA reported. That’s up 12% from a year ago, and 34% higher than two years ago.
The program provides monthly benefits to low-income individuals and families, which they can use at stores that accept SNAP benefits.
To qualify for food stamps, an individual’s income can’t exceed $1,174 a month or $14,088 a year — an amount that is 130% of the national poverty level.