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.
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