The Biden administration withdrew a Trump-era proposal on Wednesday to tighten eligibility rules for food stamps and reduce SNAP enrollment by 3.1 million people. It was the second major Trump SNAP regulation to founder under the new administration. Both would have restricted access to SNAP benefits.
Some 42 million people received food stamps according to the latest count by the government, roughly 5 million people, or 14 percent, more than before the pandemic took hold in March 2020. Congress temporarily increased benefits 15 percent in response to the pandemic, a boost that is set to expire Sept. 30.
Some 6 million to 7 million people have joined the food stamp program since the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic recession hit the United States last spring, a growth rate for SNAP never seen before, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The think tank said enrollment exceeds 43 million people and is the highest since October 2017.
The huge job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic — 22 million Americans out of work in just four weeks — may be followed by the highest SNAP enrollment ever as people seek help buying food. Participation would near 50 million people if the same portion of the population receives food stamps as during the Great Recession. (No paywall)
The USDA says monthly SNAP participation has dropped below 40 million people, continuing a long decline in enrollment. The anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center said enrollment of 39.6 million people in April, the latest month available in USDA data, was the lowest since February 2010.