SNAP Caseloads and Spending Continue to Fall

April 10, 2014 at 11:37 am

Participation in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) has continued the downward trend that we described in our recent paper, new Agriculture Department data show.  About 240,000 fewer people received SNAP benefits in January 2014 than in December 2013, and about 1.2 million fewer people participated than in January 2013 (see chart).  This continued decline in participation shows that SNAP has functioned properly during the recession and the slow recovery:  it expanded to meet increased need, and it is gradually contracting as economic conditions improve.

SNAP caseloads grew dramatically during the recession and stayed high due largely to labor market weakness.  As the economy began to recover, caseload growth began to flatten and then fall, a pattern consistent with past recessions.  January 2014 was the fifth straight month that fewer people have participated in SNAP than in the same month the previous year, and the third straight month that the caseload declined from the previous month.  Most states’ SNAP caseloads are falling:  in January 2014, caseloads had fallen in 35 states compared with December 2013 and in 42 states compared with January 2013.

SNAP spending has also fallen, due to both declining participation and the November 2013 expiration of the 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary boost in SNAP benefits.  The Agriculture Department’s data show that as a result of these two factors, SNAP spending on benefits in January 2014 was about 9 percent lower than in January 2013.  SNAP spending fell slightly as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, and is predicted to fall further in fiscal year 2014.  The Congressional Budget Office expects SNAP spending to return to 1995 levels as a share of GDP by 2019.

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More About Brynne Keith-Jennings

Brynne Keith-Jennings

Brynne Keith-Jennings joined the Center in June 2011 as a Research Associate in the Food Assistance Division.

Full bio | Blog Archive | Research archive at

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

Comments are listed in reverse chronological order.

  1. Bob Miller #

    Why would the legislature allow lifetime exclusion from the SNAP program, for being convicted of a drug felony? Drug addicts eat too. If a person is convicted of a crime, goes to prison or jail, completes their Parole or probation, shouldn’t their debt to society be considered “paid in full”? If a person is convicted of sex crimes involving children, murder, rape, sodomy, kidnapping, armed robbery, compelling prostitution, child endangerment, child abandonment, assault….. There is no exclusion for them. If a person is convicted of a felony, should they have to pay for it forever? If you are convicted of a felony, and it is on your record- You will never be hired by a fortune 500 company. Most felony friendly employers are minimum wage jobs, with little or no chance to excel or be promoted to a position that pays a liveable wage. You will find it very hard to find safe, affordable housing, in a decent neighborhood, and you will pay higher rent, and higher deposits if you do. You will have trouble getting approved for a mortgage and if you do, you will pay higher interest rates. Your insurance rates will be higher. You will be asked to submit to searches, every time you have contact with law enforcement. If you are going to exclude for a felony conviction, then it should be for ALL felony convictions. Everyone has to eat, and if a person does not have any money, there is no one who will feed them for free; what are they supposed to do? Prisons and jails feed them.For free.

  2. forumsforjustice #

    Food Stamps Cost & Recipients

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