Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The hunger for food stamps grows

More than 40 percent of Alabamians who could receive food stamps don't seek them, despite a 34.3 percent increase in the number of recipients since 2001. Those numbers place the state right at the national average for the percentage of eligible people who are registered and well below the national 45.3 percent five-
year jump (2000-05) in the total number of recipients. As prices continue to rise more quickly than most wages do across America, further increases in both numbers would not be very shocking.

Senior citizens, many of whom either are unaware of the program or dislike the idea of asking for such government assistance, are particularly underrepresented in the recipient pool. Needless to say, the 22-page application also doesn't much help matters. State officials, who pay half of the administrative cost and none of the benefit cost, hope to get the rate to 80 percent by decade's end.

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