Tuesday, May 30, 2017
SNAP CASELOADS CONTINUE TO FALL
The President’s call for SNAP cuts is based on the claim that SNAP caseloads and spending are higher than expected. In reality, SNAP caseloads and spending have fallen for more than four years at almost exactly the pace at which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected. SNAP grew significantly between 2007 and 2012 as the recession and lagging recovery led more low-income households to qualify and apply for help. Caseloads peaked in December 2012. The annual decline in SNAP participants since then has closely tracked CBO’s 2012 projections. For each year, CBO’s projections have been within 1 to 2 percentage points of the actual figures. SNAP spending has also fallen for four straight years. Spending was 4.5% lower in the first seven months of FY 2017 than over the same period last year and 15% lower than over the same period in 2013, when spending peaked. To be sure, SNAP caseloads and spending remain higher than before the recession hit, but that’s not because SNAP eligibility expanded. Instead, the main reason is that a higher share of eligible people are participating, especially working households and seniors.