April 19, 2012
By Damian Paletta
The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that 45 million people in 2011 received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 70% increase from 2007. It said the number of people receiving the benefits, commonly known as food stamps, would continue growing until 2014.
Spending for the program, not including administrative costs, rose to $72 billion in 2011, up from $30 billion four years earlier. The CBO projected that one in seven U.S. residents received food stamps last year.
In a report, the CBO said roughly two-thirds of jump in spending was tied to an increase in the number of people participating in the program, which provides access to food for the poor, elderly, and disabled. It said another 20% “of the growth in spending can be attributed to temporarily higher benefit amounts enacted in the” 2009 stimulus law.
CBO said the number of people receiving benefits is expected to fall after 2014 because the economy will be improving.
“Nevertheless, the number of people receiving SNAP benefits will remain high by historical standards,” the agency said.
It estimated that 34 million people, or 1 in 10 U.S. residents, would receive SNAP benefits in 2022 “and SNAP expenditures, at about $73 billion, will be among the highest of all non-health-related federal support programs for low-income households.”