Nearly 1.5 Million Fewer Americans on Food Stamps Under Trump

Nearly 1.5 million Americans dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics on food stamp enrollment.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation dropped to 41,203,721 as of July 2017, the most recent data available from the USDA, from 42,691,363 in January 2017 when Trump took office.

According to the latest data, SNAP enrollment decreased by 3.48 percent, or 1,487,642, since Donald Trump began his presidency.

From May to July alone, nearly 400,000 Americans got off of food stamps, and the trend shows that enrollment has been consistently falling every month of Trump’s presidency.

Here is the breakdown of how many people dropped off the food stamp rolls each month of 2017:

  • January to February – 408,956
  • February to March – 95,152
  • March to April – 521,295
  • April to May- 176,527
  • May to June – 178,648
  • June to July – 236,417

Enrollment continues to be at its lowest level in seven years, thanks to policies Trump implemented at the federal level and ongoing efforts from state legislatures to get people off welfare and back to work.

Trump’s 2018 budget proposal proposed cuts to SNAP and suggested that states match up to 20 percent of federal money allotted for the food stamp program.

The president also called for states to expand work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps if they have not already done so. Some federal lawmakers are crafting legislation to implement this policy nationwide, along with time limits on how long food stamp recipients can receive benefits.

Efforts by state lawmakers had also contributed to the decline in enrollment months before Trump took office, and the numbers show at the federal and state levels.

The number of people participating in the food stamp program declined by 4.9 percent from July 2016 to July 2017, and the amount of federal money the USDA spends on providing benefits to food stamp recipients also went down by five percent over the same period.

At the state level, food stamp enrollment is down in 42 out of 50 states, according to the USDA data showing the change in enrollment by state.

The nationwide decline can be attributed to efforts by individual states beginning in 2014, a year after the Obama administration made slight cuts to the food stamp program as House Republicans urged the administration to push for cuts to the program after enrollment swelled to record highs in 2013.

Maine led efforts to implement or reinstate work requirements to participate in the food stamp program that many states delayed putting in place because of the recession in 2014.

Other states, such as Alabama and Georgia, caught on to these reforms in 2016-2017.

The one thing this continuing trend does not fully take into account is the effect the recent natural disasters in Florida and Texas had on enrollment. The USDA eased restrictions on what items victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could purchase, allowing those who received food stamps to purchase hot food items, which cannot usually be purchased with benefits.

The agency also allowed Texans who may have been affected by the storm to receive temporary benefits, which may cause an increase in food stamp enrollment in the state.

Although the USDA has not released their August or September data yet, the agency included a disclaimer at the bottom of their most recent data saying that it “may include disaster assistance” as a way to forecast a potential spike in enrollment.


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