Economic Research Report No. (ERR-116) 52 pp

April 2011

Food Security Improved Following the 2009 ARRA Increase in SNAP Benefits

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 increased benefit levels for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) and expanded SNAP eligibility for jobless adults without children. One goal of the program changes was to improve the food security of low-income households. We find that food expenditures by low-income households increased by about 5.4 percent and their food insecurity declined by 2.2 percentage points from 2008 to 2009. Food security did not improve for households with incomes somewhat above the SNAP eligibility range. These findings, based on data from the nationally representative Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement, suggest that the ARRA SNAP enhancements contributed substantially to improvements for low-income households.

Keywords: Food security, food insecurity, food spending, SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, ARRA, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

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