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Record 45.8 million receiving food stamps

Aug. 7, 2011 at 2:22 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Alabama, hit by severe storms, pushed the total number of U.S. food stamp recipients to an all-time high of 45.8 million people in May, officials say.

Food stamp use -- officially known as the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- surged in Alabama from 868,813 in April to 1,762,481 in May, contributing to the record 45.8 million receiving food stamps in May, CNN reported. That's about 15 percent of the U.S. population, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say.

To qualify for food stamps, a person's income cannot exceed $1,174 a month or $14,088 a year -- 130 percent of the national poverty level. The SNAP benefit averaged $133.80 per person and $283.65 per household in May.

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