The number of people receiving food stamps has more than doubled since 2008, and that growth is driven by a surge in food stamp use by the elderly and the disabled, according to a new study.
The study, released Wednesday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, found that people with incomes of less than $18,000 are the most likely group to receive food stamps in the United States.
Nearly three in four people who received food stamps during the year were older than 65.
Some 65% of those people are 65 or older, and many of them have disabilities.
The number of beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program rose from 8.4 million in 2010 to 11.3 million in 2019, according the study, which also looked at Medicaid recipients, people with disabilities and people with chronic medical conditions.
Nearly half of the people who are eligible for food stamps receive them, the study said.
The study found that nearly a quarter of the total food stamp program beneficiaries were elderly people, about half of whom were 65 or younger.
The majority of beneficiaries were African-American, with nearly a third of them living in rural areas.
The authors of the study noted that the rise in the number of eligible beneficiaries was “significant.”
“While the number [of beneficiaries] is growing, the proportion of eligible people receiving SNAP has remained essentially constant, indicating that the program’s efficacy has not increased with the increase in eligibility,” the authors wrote.
The report did not examine how much of the increase was due to changes in the economy or how many people are receiving the benefit because they are receiving disability.
In a statement, SNAP Director Stephanie Adams said the agency is pleased with the results of the new study and that the agency continues to encourage people to participate in the program.
“We are committed to working with Congress and state and local governments to ensure that the Supplemental Food Assistance Program remains a valuable resource for the millions of people in our country who rely on it for essential nutrition,” Adams said.
“There are a variety of reasons people are getting food stamps, but we know that they are a critical part of our nation’s recovery from the economic recession.
The Supplemental Nutrition Access Program is an important tool to help meet those needs.”
The report noted that it found that about 11 million people received food assistance from the SNAP program in fiscal year 2019.
That figure was up from about 9 million in fiscal 2015, and about 4.6 million in the first quarter of this year.
In addition, about 12 million people were receiving Medicaid benefits.
The share of those receiving food assistance has increased since 2009, when it was about 13%.
The authors noted that, based on data collected between 2010 and 2020, the number that are on food assistance is increasing because the number who are on Medicaid is increasing.