Food Stamp Use Skyrockets Even as Unemployment Rate Decreases

Food Stamp Use Skyrockets Even as Unemployment Rate Decreases

A record number of Americans now receive food stamps — even as the unemployment rate has declined — in part because the federal government is actively trying to recruit people into the program. 

The Senate Republican Budget Committee noted that spending on the program has increased every year since 2000 and has “climbed by nearly 10 million individuals since October 2009–but the unemployment rate declined 2 percentage points from its peak level over that time.”

“One of the reasons for the surging growth in the food stamp program is that the agency that administers it (USDA) has actively sought to increase the share of the eligible population receiving the benefit,” the Senate Republican Budget Committee said. “The agency even produced a document teaching recruitment workers how to “overcome the word ‘No.'” 

The Committee noted that “recruitment brochures boast that every $5 dollars in food stamps spending generates almost twice that amount in local economic benefit and that communities ‘lose out’ when eligible people do not enroll.”

In fact, the USDA even tells recruiters to overcome the “sense that benefits are not needed” for some people they work to put on food stamps. 

Corporations that have interests in Washington also benefit from food stamp use by collecting fees associated with EBT cards.