Food stamp usage is on the decline. The number of food stamp recipients bottomed to a seven-year low, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on July 7. More than 42 million people used the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in FY 2017. That’s down from a peak of 47.6 million in 2013.
Kansas may be due a sliver of credit for the decline. In 2013, Kansas adopted welfare-to-work requirements, tracking and time limit to its food stamp program. In its first year, the state dropped 13,000 from its welfare rolls. Since then, the number of able-bodied, adult Kansans using food stamps dropped by 75 percent.
Perhaps more importantly, a majority of those who left the food stamp program found employment within 12 months and increased their incomes by an average of 127 percent per year, according to a 2016 report from the Foundation for Government Accountability. The move saves taxpayers more than $50 million per year.
As Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Kansas reforms are working and inspiring similar reforms around the nation.
“Governor Brownback’s experience in Kansas shows that getting people to work, not expanding welfare, is the way to create jobs and increase incomes,” Bragdon concluded.