Food Stamp Program:

Trends in Program Applications, Participation, and Denials

RCED-87-80BR: Published: Apr 2, 1987. Publicly Released: May 11, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on trends in the: (1) number of households applying for food stamp benefits; (2) number of applications approved and denied; (3) number of households participating in the Food Stamp Program; and (4) percentage of households experiencing improper denial or termination of food stamp benefits.

GAO found that, from fiscal years (FY) 1983 through 1985, the number of households: (1) applying for food stamps nationwide declined from about 16.8 million to about 12.6 million; (2) receiving benefits declined from about 13.7 million to about 10 million; and (3) denied benefits declined from about 3.1 million to about 2.6 million. GAO also found that: (1) from FY 1983 through 1985, the total estimated number of households participating in the program nationwide declined from about 13.7 million to about 12.8 million; (2) during this period, program participation increased in 11 states and decreased in 29 states; (3) from FY 1980 through 1985, the percentage of households that experienced improper denial or termination of benefits declined from about 4 percent to about 3 percent; and (4) on a state-by-state basis, this percentage ranged from 0 percent to over 11 percent.

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