Overall enrollment in the nation’s food stamp program has dipped to its lowest level in eight years, according to the latest statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The latest USDA data reveals that enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—the federal government program that administers food stamps—dropped to 40,083,954 in March 2018.
The last time enrollment in the food stamp program reached that level was February 2010, when 39,588,993 people participated in the nation’s food stamp program.
Although overall enrollment has reached its lowest point in eight years, food stamp enrollment has been declining steadily since 2013 and has only continued throughout President Trump’s first year in office.
Under Trump, 2.2 million fewer people have discontinued their participation in SNAP, mainly due to the Trump administration’s attempts to reform SNAP by controlling program costs at the federal and state levels.
The USDA announced in March that it hired an “integrity officer” to bolster the administration’s efforts to prevent fraud in the country’s SNAP program and announced in February the rollout of its “Harvest Box” program to give food stamp recipients a box of food as part of their monthly benefits package.
Trump also released an executive order on welfare reform in April that would require the USDA to issue updated rules for those receiving benefits such as food stamps, and invest in workforce development programs.
The House and Senate are also working on an updated Farm Bill that would include an expansion of workforce-development programs designed to bolster job-training. The House version of the bill includes a provision that would require able-bodied adults ages 18 to 59 who receive food stamp benefits to work, enroll in job training, or look for work under the supervision of a case manager.
The most up-to-date version of the Senate bill, however, does not include these work requirements.
The Trump administration’s latest effort to reform SNAP may change how the federal government administers welfare programs, which in turn, may affect how many people stay enrolled in food stamps. A report released Wednesday revealed that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is seeking to move welfare programs such as SNAP and other safety-net programs under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).