More than 250,000 Americans left the food stamp rolls in July, continuing a yearlong trend in the nation's most expensive welfare program.
The Agriculture Department reported Monday that 26.04 million people were collecting food stamps in July, down from 26.31 million recipients in June and down also from 27.31 million recipients in July 1994.Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said July was the 12th consecutive month in which food stamp participation rates were lower than the same month a year earlier.
The reductions have saved $573 million since August 1994 in a program that costs about $27 billion a year.
Glickman attributed the decline to an improving economy "under the Clinton administration." Some Republicans have suggested that reforms to move welfare recipients to work also are decreasing food stamp rolls.
The number of people receiving food stamps began climbing in 1990, and continued to set records over the next four years. At its peak in March 1994, the program helped 28 million people buy groceries.