SNAP benefits targeted to poorest households

A chart showing the average annual reduction in poverty measures from 2000 to 2009 when SNAP benefits are included as part of the family income.

In fiscal year 2011, an average of 44.7 million people per month participated in USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The progressive structure of SNAP-in which eligible families with lower incomes receive larger benefits than similarly-sized eligible families with higher incomes-results in the poorest households receiving the largest benefits. This targeting of benefits is reflected in a recent ERS analysis, which found that SNAP had a greater impact of the depth and severity of poverty than on the poverty rate itself. SNAP was particularly successful in lessening poverty among children-a group that experiences higher rates of poverty than the total population. This chart appeared in "SNAP Benefits Alleviate the Incidence and Intensity of Poverty" in the June 2012 issue of ERS's Amber Waves magazine.

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