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The FARRM bills major expenditure, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), supports over 40 million people.

What percentage of people have received SNAP benefits for more than 5/10/20/30 years?

(Note: I am interested in cumulative years on SNAP. I believe that there are statistics for average number of months on SNAP before going off it, but do not know if they track people who return to the program.)

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    I think dependant is the wrong word here. Perhaps change it to reliant. – SoylentGray Dec 12 '13 at 20:32
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    In addition to @Chad's thought, I'm not sure comparisons to animals are appropriate. – Bobson Dec 12 '13 at 20:48
  • I also think that it is not a statistic that is maintained to how many times a person has received SNAP Aid in their lifetime. I believe, only information they maintain is about the most recent time where SNAP Aid was applied for. I believe this because I have knowledge of a sister program and this is how the legislation directed us to maintain the history. It is possible SNAP is run differently but both programs are Ag programs so I doubt it – SoylentGray Dec 12 '13 at 21:15
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    @user1873 - They're synonyms (same denotation), but they have different connotations. Consider the difference between unrelenting and mulish. Both are synonyms for stubborn, but they imply very different things. That being said, connotations are much more variable than definitions. – Bobson Dec 12 '13 at 22:48
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    @Chad, wow more simlarities with the animal world. humans learn that they can receive free food (and other benefits) and become pests. They make poor choices as long as humans are around for them to receive benefits from. – user1873 Dec 12 '13 at 23:08
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Note: This does not directly answer the question, but can serve as a starting point for the research, which is why I'm leaving it here for now. The numbers being asked for may not have ever been gathered and analyzed, but if they have, they don't seem to be in the linked-to study.


I found a summary of a 2006 report on how long SNAP participants receive benefits, which has a chart which somewhat your question for August 1990 - October 1999.

I haven't been able to track down a more recent study, but for that decade only 21% of the people stayed on for more than two years after joining the program. From the report:

Among all individuals participating in March 1996, SIPP data suggest that half were in the middle of participation spells lasting four and a half years or longer, while FSPQC data indicate that only one-third of the caseload was in the middle of spells of at least four and a half years. In FSPQC data, the median participation spell for March 1996 participants was just over two years. While it is unclear why the estimates from these separate sources differ, it appears that the estimated median participation spell of eight years for a cross-section of FSP participants is no longer an accurate depiction of the FSP dynamics.

  • If you examine my Note above, this isn't the information i am looking for. "participation spell" sounds like continuious years in the program. I am interested in cumulative years, while your data is only people who never dropped out of the program. – user1873 Dec 12 '13 at 23:03
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    @user1873 - You're right. I strongly suspect they don't track re-entries, but I'll see if I can track anything down for that. However, wouldn't the very fact that they went off it for a period of time indicate that they could get by without the program and are thus not dependent on it? – Bobson Dec 12 '13 at 23:04
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    @bobson - wouldn't the very fact that they went off it for a period of time indicate that they could get by without the program and are thus not dependent on it yes except for the fact that the way the program works based on the income of the person who applies more foodstamps could be issued. If you apply you have to provide proof of your(and your spouses if you have one(though not your baby daddy's)) income, but you do not have to provide proof of income for other members of your household. So it may be benficial to let your sister claim you as a dependant to get more FS. – SoylentGray Dec 13 '13 at 17:06
  • The above is an exploit of the system but it is a known and commonly used exploit. In that scenrio they are never not reliant on the Food stamps. – SoylentGray Dec 13 '13 at 17:06
  • @Chad - Interesting. I wouldn't have even considered that. And it definitely would demonstrate what user1873's looking for. However, I'd be really surprised if there were actually numbers for that if the government isn't tracking it (as implied by being able to do that in the first place). – Bobson Dec 13 '13 at 17:57

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