SSN on Facebook SSN on Twitter SSN on YouTube RSS Feed



Number of Floridians Receiving SNAP Benefits Doubles In Five Years

May 22, 2013 - 6:00pm

In spite of the Sunshine State's declining unemployment rate, the number of Floridians on food stamps -- now called SNAP benefits -- has risen in alarmingly, actually doubling in five years.

In 2008,1.45 million people were signed up in Florida; today more than 3.5 million people are enrolled.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, gives low-income and no-income citizens financial assistance so they can buy food for themselves and their families. Nationally, nearly 3 percent more people than a year ago were receiving SNAP benefits as of February 2013, equaling about 47 million people. Thats about one in every seven Americans.

The 3.5 million number puts Florida's food-stamp roll at an all-time high.

Why, if the jobless rate has fallen, has government assistance increased?There may be a few reasons.

One of them is because even though the unemployment rate is lower, it doesnt mean people are actually working full-time jobs. The unemployment report doesnt go too far into exactly what types of jobs are employing people in the workforce. And, aweak economy may also be partly to blame.

Another likely reason for the increase in enrollees is Floridas SNAP recruitment process. The state has begun to hire "recruiters" -- people whose job it is to sign up recipients.

High enrollment numbers have led to increased economic growth in the state. SNAP benefits funneled around $5.59 billion into the state economy last year.

But while the program may seem like a positive way to boost the economy, the larger problem is that the increased number of people receiving food stamps increases the federal debt.

The program nationally cost more than $78 billion last year, twice the amount as in 2008.

A Republican proposal to let states control their own food stamp programs was proposed in the Senate as an amendment of the farm bill, but it was rejected Thursday. Further cuts to the programs originally proposed $4 billion were also rejected.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at

Comments are now closed.

Live streaming of WBOB Talk Radio, a Sunshine State News Radio Partner.