US

Food Stamp Recipients Drop Under Trump

The number of individuals in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has continued to decline under the Trump administration.

During President Obama’s first term, the number of individuals receiving food stamps skyrocketed amid the Great Recession, as this graph from the USDA demonstrates. According to the USDA data, enrollment in SNAP has dropped by more than 1 million since Trump took office.

While there was a temporary spike in a few states at the beginning of October that forced the national average of food stamp recipients jolt up, the overall nationwide enrollment in the program has been steadily shrinking.

The temporary spike was due to the national disasters that struck our nation this past fall. The Florida state government was forced to enact the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), causing food stamp participation to shoot up by 2.5 million from September to October of last year. Then, from October to November, the number of individuals receiving food stamps fell from 45.7 million people, to 41.7 million.

DCF Communications Director Jessica Sims noted, “The dramatic increase in SNAP recipients in the fall was related to the state’s administration of the federal disaster SNAP program following the impact of Hurricane Irma. To qualify for the federal disaster food assistance program, individuals must have lived or worked in one of the 48 declared counties on September 5, and NOT be a customer in the regular food assistance program.”

While Florida is a clear outlier, the overall trend is the number of food stamp recipients has been steadily decreasing in an improving economy and as several state governments have implemented modifications to the welfare system designed to incentivize people to find jobs.

The Trump administration has indicated it would enact several of these reform measures at the federal level. For example, it plans on requiring those that receive food stamps to meet a minimum number of working hours in a given week, which would likely cause the national SNAP enrollment to continue to fall.