Earlier this year, the Tribune News Service reported, “The higher sign-up rate among those qualified accounts for 8.6 million more people on food stamps” of the approximately 20mm increase in enrollee between 2007 and today. In 2013, Casey Mulligan, parsed this between “New eligibility rules [that] by themselves added 3.4 million people to SNAP enrollment” and outreach by the Department of Agriculture. The rest was presumed to be the result of recession.
In early 2015, the left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities insisted there was “No Mystery Why SNAP Enrollment Remains High: It’s Still the Economy” and that enrollment would begin to fall steadily. But the Tribune News Service cautioned that while “able-bodied, unemployed adults aged 18-49 who don’t have children are supposed to be limited to three months of food stamp benefits during a 36-month period … waivers and categorical eligibility are being used in unintended ways to keep federal dollars flowing” when “Republican-backed restrictions on categorical eligibility didn’t make it into a reauthorization Congress passed in 2014,” so most states kept their aid.