More Americans need food stamps

March 31, 2008 at 12:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- The Congressional Budget Office projects a record 28 million people in the United States will receive food stamps during the coming fiscal year.

The CBO says a mix of layoffs and rising prices for food and energy will boost the number of recipients to the highest level since the program was established in the 1960s, The New York Times reported Monday.

While the percentage of Americans receiving food stamps was higher after a recession in the 1990s, the CBO says the actual number didn't reach this year's projection of 28 million.

Stacy Dean of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington told the Times that 14 states saw the number of food stamp recipients reach record levels last December. One-year growth was 10 percent or more in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, North Dakota and Rhode Island.

In Michigan, one-in-eight residents is receiving food stamps.

Federal benefit costs for the food stamp program are projected to rise to $36 billion in the 2009 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

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