Record 23,116,441 households on food stamps

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The number of American households on food stamps reached a new record high in March, according to new data released by the Agriculture Department.

The March numbers the USDA released Friday reveal 23,116,441 households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, each receiving an average monthly benefit of $274.30.

The number of individuals on SNAP did not break any records but remained high, with 47,727,052 people enrolled in SNAP, receiving an average monthly benefit of $132.86.

The number of individuals on SNAP hit a record high in December, with 47,792,056 people enrolled.

SNAP has been in the news in recent years and months as the program’s rolls have ballooned and the cost has quadrupled since 2001 and doubled since President Obama took office.

Nearly 80 percent of the $955 billion farm bill represents funding for SNAP.  The Senate is expected to vote on the final passage of the farm bill Monday. The Senate’s bill cuts about $400 million a year from SNAP’s budget, or about half a percent of the total cost.

The House farm bill, which left committee last month, cuts about $2.5 billion from the program a annually, or about 3 percent of the SNAP budget.  The House bill is expected to come to the floor later this month.

The March numbers released Friday include households and individuals that received Disaster SNAP or D-SNAP, which allows households that may not normally qualify for SNAP to receive nutrition assistance during periods of hardship caused by a natural disaster.

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