The number of individuals participating in the nation’s food stamp program has sunk to its lowest level in ten years, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The most up-to-date enrollment data from the USDA showed that in April 2019, the most recent data from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 35,993,281 individuals were on food stamps.
Ten years ago in July 2009, which was six months into former President Barack Obama’s first full year in office, 35,602,939 individuals remained on the food stamp dole, according to the USDA data.
Food stamp enrollment spiked in 2013 under the Obama administration’s second term, when food stamp participation reached its peak in U.S. history.
After 2013, SNAP enrollment plummeted once state legislatures passed laws requiring food stamp recipients to work, attend school, volunteer, or participate in job training for a set number of hours per week to receive benefits.
Food stamp participation took a nosedive even further once President Trump took office, as 2.9 million individuals dropped out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since his first full month in office.
USDA officials said those numbers are “preliminary” due to the government shutdown at the end of 2018, which affected food stamp administration at the beginning of 2019.
Trump has signaled that he wants to curb the nation’s dependency on food stamps and wants those coming into the country to be self-sufficient.
The president told Breitbart News in an Oval Office interview that he does not want any immigrants coming into the U.S. to be dependent on welfare programs.
“I don’t want to have anyone coming in that’s on welfare,” Trump told Breitbart News in March.
The USDA also announced in June that it would be putting policies into place that would restrict certain groups from obtaining SNAP benefits.
People who win the lottery, win a significant amount of money from gambling, or are convicted felons who do not comply with their sentences would be disqualified from receiving government assistance.
That same month, USDA employees took a tour of a facility in Annapolis, Maryland, that aims to help the homeless and food stamps recipients, showing the benefits of getting people to become “self-sufficient.”