Poverty In America: Defining The New Poor

Welfare changes in the 1990s helped slash cash benefit rolls, yet the use of food stamps is soaring today. About 15 percent of Americans use food stamps. The program has become what some call the new welfare.

A big reason why is a deal struck between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress in 1996. At that time, the number of Americans who received cash payments — what’s often thought of as welfare — was at an all-time high.

The Clinton overhaul made it much harder to qualify for those payments, and today the welfare rolls are down 70 percent, but that’s only if you define welfare in one way.

“We decided cash assistance is welfare and that’s bad, but we decided food aid is nutritional assistance and that’s good,” says New York Times reporter Jason DeParle. “We made [the food stamp] program much easier to get on.”

Read more and listen to the full story at NPR.org.

SNAP (Food Stamps): Facts, Myths and Realities

What you know (and don’t know) about the SNAP program may surprise you. Feeding America has compiled an excellent resource clarifying many facts and myths relating to the former Food Stamps program.

Read more at Feeding America.

46.5 million Americans used SNAP benefits in Dec 2011

Not all broken records are a good thing.

Unemploment and underemployment led to a record of more than 46.5 million Americans that used SNAP (Formerly food stamps) benefits in December, 2011. That was an increase of 2.4 million over 2010. Nearly one in seven people participated in SNAP setting a new record of Americans using food assistance.

Read more at frac.org.