By Kate Randall
29 March 2013
FOR FULL ARTICLE: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/29/food-m29.html
A record number of Americans are using food stamps, known today as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Despite official proclamations that the recession has ended and an economic recovery is underway, families are turning to SNAP benefits in huge numbers. The working poor comprise a growing number of food stamp recipients, and about half of those receiving benefits are children.
In 2008, at the onset of the recession, 28.2 million people were enrolled in SNAP. While the official jobless rate, which peaked at 10 percent in 2009, had dipped slightly to 7.7 percent as of February this year, the SNAP program has continued to grow. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that food stamp usage will drop only marginally, to 43.3 million people, by 2017. Even this estimate is predicated on the unemployment rate dropping to 5.6 percent over the next four years.
Enrollees receive benefits on a debit card, which can to be used to purchase cereal, meats, fruits, vegetables, bread, milk and other staples. When food is running low, recipients often seek out 24-hour grocery stores, waiting for 12 a.m. for their monthly benefits to kick in.