Food Stamp Use Drops for First Time Since 2008


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The number of Americans relying on food stamps dropped by more than 200,000 in June, marking the first month-over-month decline since October 2008, new government data shows.

In total, 45,183,931 individuals collected food stamps in June of this year, down from the 45,410,683 who did so the month before, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The average monthly benefits collected through the program also dipped slightly to $133.67 in June, compared to $134.80 in May.

Even with this modest decline, food stamp use remains near an all-time high and well above pre-recession levels. More than 27 million Americans collected food stamps in December 2007 – the month the recession officially began.

Indeed, the picture is much bleaker when viewed on a state-by-state level. All but 10 states experienced an increase in the number of people on food stamps in June, with several like Delaware, Massachusetts and Arizona seeing an increase of roughly 2%.

Much of the decline can be attributed to Alabama, where food stamp use dropped by more than a third, or roughly 540,000 people, due to an uncommon spike in demand the previous month as tornadoes whipped through the state and forced thousands to temporarily rely on government assistance to get by. Since then, the situation in Alabama seems to have improved significantly, but not so much for the country as a whole.

If you or someone you know is struggling to get by, check out MainStreet’s roundup of programs offered by the government and nonprofits for people who have literally run out of money.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the Credit Center.

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