This report, part of the Food and Consumer Service’s series "Current Perspectives on Food Stamp Program Participation," presents the latest participation rates for the Food Stamp Program (FSP). The participation rate -- the proportion of those eligible for food stamps who actually apply for and receive benefits -- is a valuable policy tool that shows whether the program is reaching the intended population and which groups of the eligible population participate at higher or lower rates than other groups. Estimates of rates are based on Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data for eligibles and FSP administrative data for participants.
The current report shows that in January 1994, rates remained at or near their highest point since the beginning of the series in 1985. Between January 1992 and January 1994, the FSP participation rate for eligible households held steady at 69 percent. Participating households received 81 percent of total potential food stamp benefits in January 1994, similar to the 82 percent in January 1992. Although the overall household participation rate did not change, the participation rate for one-person households increased while the rate for larger households fell. Consequently, the person participation rate declined slightly, from 74 percent in 1992 to 71 percent in 1994. (author abstract)