The number of households on food stamps has reached its lowest point in nine years, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data.
The most up-to-date enrollment data from the USDA shows that 18,093,759 households were participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as of May 2019.
The last time this many households took part in SNAP was in January 2010 — two years into former President Obama’s time in office — when 18,118,005 households were on the food stamp dole, according to USDA records.
The nation’s dependency on food stamps has also declined on an individual level in addition to the household level.
Breitbart News reported in July that the number of individuals partaking in the nation’s food stamp program reached its lowest enrollment for the first time in ten years, with 35,993,281 individuals taking part in SNAP.
The USDA figures, even though the numbers change due to food stamp assistance based on natural disasters and government shutdowns, signify a downward trend that is continuing under President Trump.
The USDA is also exploring options to continue this downward trend of food stamp enrollment and keep people off the government dole.
At the end of July, the agency announced it would close a “loophole” that allows 3.1 million people who receive benefits through a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to automatically receive SNAP benefits, no matter what their income status.
The agency is seeking to close this loophole by requiring TANF benefit recipients to go through an income background check to determine their eligibility for SNAP and exclude “broad-based categorical eligibility,” which allows those with higher incomes to partake in SNAP benefits, according to USDA officials.
“Unfortunately, automatic eligibility has expanded to allow even millionaires and others who simply receive a TANF-funded brochure to become eligible for SNAP when they clearly don’t need it,” Acting Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps told reporters at the time.
The agency also quietly closed another loophole in June, barring household lottery winners who win more than $3,500 in cash prizes from participating in the food stamp program without providing a detailed summary of their income.