The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides benefits to help people in low-income households purchase food. In fiscal year 2010, households receiving SNAP benefits had annual income (other than those benefits) that averaged about $8,800; SNAP benefits averaged about $4.30 per person per day.
Nearly 45 million recipients, one out of every seven U.S. residents, received SNAP benefits in an average month in fiscal year 2011. Total federal spending for the program was $78 billion.
Spending growth was driven by increases in the number of people receiving benefits and by increases in benefit amounts per person.
The number of people who receive SNAP benefits will continue to rise before beginning to decline at the end of 2014, according to CBO’s March 2012 projections. By 2022, CBO projects that about 34 million people each month (or about 1 in 10 U.S. residents) will receive SNAP benefits, and SNAP expenditures will decline to about $73 billion.
CBO examined the budgetary effects of various changes to SNAP, including these: