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Food Stamp Usage Is Declining

Food Stamp Usage Is Declining

Food stamp benefits fell 3.1 percent in December. The decline has been attributed to the approximated 230 basis point drop in participation and roughly 80 basis point decline in benefits/person. According to Macquarie Research, this is the "ninth consecutive monthly decline since the November 2013 cuts to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) rolled off."

"Continued participation decline, in our view, potentially reflects improving employment in the lower-end consumer segment. We continue to believe contracting benefits per person could create complications in the retail space," analyst Bob Summers said in a client note.

Related Link: Proposed House Budget Would Drive Millions Into Hunger And Poverty

The analyst said the individual participation declined for 28th consecutive month, while participation dropped 2.3 percent in December and has dropped, on average, about 2 percent during the past 28 months.

"In our view, a combination of underlying lower-end job trends and a less lenient approach to assisting able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) will lead to continued participation declines in the short to medium term," Summers added.

In addition, benefits per person declined 80 basis points in December, for the third month in a row. The analyst expects "benefit per person to be pressured for at least the next nine months" due to the absence of cost of living adjustment for the current year.

How Effective Is SNAP? What Can End Hunger?

Meanwhile, a report from FRAC (Food Research and Action Center) "shows SNAP's effectiveness, but underscores a need for increasing benefits to achieve even stronger outcomes."

A FRAC analysis revealed "17 percent of respondents did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family in the first six months of 2015."

FRAC said although a White House report confirmed SNAP's effectiveness in "promoting good health, education and food security outcomes," it suggests "current SNAP benefit amounts are inadequate for households."

FRAC has suggested eight essential strategies for decisively attacking hunger, including:

  • "1. Create jobs, raise wages, increase opportunity, and share prosperity;
  • "2. Improve government income-support programs for struggling families;
  • "3. Strengthen SNAP;
  • "4. Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs;
  • "5. Target supports to especially vulnerable populations;
  • "6. Work with states, localities, and nonprofits to expand and improve participation in federal nutrition programs;
  • "7. Make sure all families have convenient access to reasonably priced, healthy food; and
  • "8. Build political will."

Image Credit: Public Domain


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