The number of beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, has exceeded 45 million for 49 straight months, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In May 2015, the latest month for which data is available, there were 45,495,791 beneficiaries of the food stamp program. There were 56,589 more individuals enrolled in food stamps in May than there were in April.
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The number of food stamp recipients first exceeded 45 million in May 2011. Since then, the number has consistently exceeded 45 million, hitting a record high of about 47,800,000 in December 2012.
In May 2015, households on food stamps received an average benefit of $256.47, and total benefits for the month cost taxpayers $5.7 billion.
The USDA has been tracking data on SNAP participation since fiscal year 1969, at which time average participation stood at about 2,800,000. Average participation in fiscal year 2014 hit about 46,500,000, meaning that since 1969 participation in the program has increased 16-fold.