More than 3.8 million people dropped off food stamps since President Donald Trump’s first full month in office, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The latest USDA data revealed that food stamp participation dropped to 38,577,141 in November 2018, down by 3,899,257 since Trump took office in February 2017, when 42,134,301 Americans received food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Food stamp enrollment also dropped to its lowest level in a decade. The last time overall food stamp participation was this low was in November 2009, when 38,184,306 people were on the government dole, according to USDA data.
Overall food stamp participation had consistently declined since 2013 when the Obama administration was in power and enrollment in the program reached its highest levels in the nation’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.
But food stamp enrollment has continued to drop under Trump’s administration partly because of the administration’s efforts to reform welfare programs like SNAP at federal and state levels of government and an improving economy spurred by Trump’s tax reform package.
Food stamp usage has also declined indirectly because of Trump’s proposed efforts to tighten food stamp eligibility among recent legal immigrants.
A recent study showed that food stamp usage among people who recently immigrated to the United States in the past five years dropped by 10 percent.
The November study from Children’s HealthWatch noted that the drop in enrollment among recent legal immigrants occurred mainly because of a yet-to-be-implemented Trump administration policy which would keep recent immigrants from gaining permanent residency in the U.S. if they used food stamps or other forms of welfare.