Tuesday, December 7, 2010

growth in food stamps: recession, recruitment, and reduced stigma

From Greg Beato in Reason, drumming up the demand for food stamps...

Possibly the only cultural phenomenon that had a bigger year in 2010 than Justin Bieber was the needs-based entitlement program formerly known as Food Stamps. Now dubbed the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program, or SNAP...[in] August that number had grown to 41,836,300. At that point, nearly one in seven Americans were receiving monthly payments of approximately $133, for a monthly government outlay of more than $5.5 billion....

But the Great Recession isn't the whole story behind food stamps' Second Great Awakening. The USDA's Food & Nutrition Service has been engaged in a lengthy campaign to boost the program's enrollment rates. In 2000 just 16.9 million people were receiving food stamps, and only 50% of those who were eligible participated in the program. Then FNS and the state agencies that administer SNAP began streamlining application processes and ramping up their outreach efforts. By 2007, 66 percent of "eligibles" had been converted into participants, and preliminary data suggests that that percentage continued to increase in 2008 and 2009. SNAP, it turns out, is a rare and increasingly cosily example of government efficiency...

SNAP'S growth was driven partly by the transition from paper-based coupons to electronic benefit transfer cards...Convenient, stigma-free purchasing power is just one the way government has been, in the words of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, "breaking down barriers to participation" in SNAP....

In part the FNS is pushing SNAP so hard because it believes the program functions as an economic stimulus... (LOL!)

1 Comments:

At December 8, 2010 at 9:03 AM , Blogger BDowdy said...

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