More people are on food stamps and disability, government data show.
The number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp) recipients increased 70 percent from 2007 to 2011 to 45 million people, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The number is expected to continue to grow for two more years until an improved economy leads to a downturn in the number of people claiming benefits.
Program spending hit $72 billion last year, up $30 billion from 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Separately, Investors.com, citing Social Security Administration data, said there are 10.8 million people on disability, up 53 percent from a decade ago. So far this year, 539,000 people have gone on disability and 725,000 have applied. Since June 2009, when the recession officially ended, the number of people signing up for disability benefits is double the job growth figure.
“The big factor in the recent surge is the slow pace of the economic recovery after the severe recession,” Investors.com assesses. “That has kept the unemployment rate above 8 percent and created an enormous pool of long-term unemployed and discouraged workers”
The article notes that according to a study by two economists, the main reasons for the broader trend increase are “the loosening of eligibility rules by Congress in 1984, the rise in disability benefits relative to wages, and the fact that more women have entered the workforce, making them eligible for disability.”