The numbers of food stamps recipients skyrocketed during the Obama years, while new numbers show that President Donald Trump is reversing the trend. According to the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics on food stamp enrollment, 1.48 million people dropped out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since Trump’s inauguration in January. Enrollment decreased to 41,203,721 as of July 2017, according to the latest data, down from 42,691,363 when Trump took office. That is a decline of 3.48 percent.

Food stamp enrollment is at its lowest level in seven years, while unemployment is now below 5 percent. In some states, a dramatic reduction in food stamp issuance came when they moved to restore work requirements. During the Obama administration, states were allowed to waive SNAP work requirements in 2009, as part of his economic stimulus package. Among those states were Alabama and Georgia.

Trump’s first budget proposal seeks to “slash food stamp spending in fiscal year 2018 by more than a quarter,” Politico reported. Besides more stringent work requirements for able-bodied recipients, the new federal budget calls for states to match up to 20 percent of the federal outlay, according to Politico. 

However, food stamp enrollments are expected to spike because of the hurricanes that struck this year along the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico. As a result, the USDA temporarily expanded food stamp benefits and scores of families have applied for emergency food benefits through the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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