WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans receiving food stamp assistance soared above 36 million for the first time in August, the eighth month in a row that enrollment set a record, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.
USDA said 36.492 million people were receiving food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In July, enrollment stood at 35.851 million. At the current rate, an estimated one in eight Americans receive benefits.
The program, which helps poor people buy food, has seen enrollment jump by 4.707 million during 2009 amid a lingering economic downturn in the United States. Participation grew by 2 million people from May to August.
In the latest data, the average person received $132.99 in August, compared with $101.31 in August 2008.
Reporting by Christopher Doering; Editing by Walter Bagley