(CNSNews.com) -- The number of people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, has fallen by 6,686,087 since Donald Trump assumed the presidency on Jan. 20, 2017.
In January 2017, there were 42,715,593 people receiving SNAP benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees the program. As of June 2019 – latest data available – there were 36,029,506 people receiving SNAP benefits, a decline of 6,686,087 persons.
SNAP provides low-income families electronic benefit cards with which they can purchase food and related items. According to the USDA, the average monthly benefit in fiscal year 2019 (through Sept. 6) was $265.78 per household, or $133.54 per person.
The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 31.
In fiscal year 2016, according to the USDA, the SNAP program cost $66,539,269,256. In fiscal year 2019 (as of Sept. 6), the cost was $40,476,014,076 – a decline of $26,063,255,180.
The states with the highest number of households participating in SNAP are California, Florida, New York and Texas, all with over a million households in the program.
In July 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed a change to the SNAP eligibility rule. The proposal reportedly would close “a loophole that allows states to make participants in certain programs ‘categorically eligible’ to participate in SNAP.”
The new rule “would limit categorical eligibility to those who receive substantial, ongoing assistance from TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families],” which means “cash or non-cash benefits valued at a minimum of $50 per month for at least 6 months,” stated the USDA.