Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program referred to as SNAP and/or Food Stamps is a government program assisting nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website, SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. The SNAP program is also refereed to “Food Stamps”
The Food Stamp Program initially started as a pilot program in 1961. In January 1964, President Johnson requested Congress to pass legislation making the Food Stamp Program permanent. The bill eventually passed by Congress was H.R. 10222, introduced by Congresswoman Sullivan. The Food Stamp program has evolved over the years. For a more detailed history go to http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/short-history-snap
Costs for the program and the number of participants have soured over the years. However, Food Stamp spending fell as a share of GDP in 2014. Spending on SNAP fell by 11 percent in 2014 as a share of GDP. Also the number of participants have started to fall.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts indicate the SNAP is not part of the long-term budget problems. They expect SNAP spending to fall further as the economic recovery continues.
Here is a few charts showing how the SNAP program has grown over the years in terms of cost/benefits and also the number of participants.