A feather in Florida’s cap
More than half of the people added to the food stamp program across the country in May were Floridians.
Florida led the nation with the largest increase in participation in the food-stamp program. The latest numbers show that the percentage of eligible Floridians receiving food stamps increased 1.9% from April to May of this year.
See the latest rankings for all the states here.
The increase in Florida’s participation was 23,580 persons, about 53% of the nationwide increase of 43,988. A total of 1,249,673 Floridians receive food stamps.
The Food Research and Action Center says the nationwide increase reflects rising unemployment and underemployment rates and state actions to increase access to food stamps.
It seems likely that Florida’s praiseworthy numbers are due to its effort to streamline the application process. The SUNCAP program simplifies access to food stamps for persons living alone who are applying for or receiving Supplemental Security Income. When the program began earlier this year, it was estimated that 112,000 current SSI recipients in Florida were not receiving food stamps. See previous post here.
Florida has been one of the least successful states in delivering food stamps to its vulnerable citizens. In 2004, the state ranked 48th in percent of eligible persons receiving food stamps. Read previous posts here (with links to eligibility standards and application forms) and here.
Why should you care? Each dollar of food stamps is estimated by the USDA to produce nearly two dollars in economic activity.