A Safety Net That Looks More Like a Tightrope

According to characteristics data recently released by the Food and Nutrition Service, 3.6 million households receiving SNAP (food stamp) benefits in 2010 had no other reported income -- not earnings, not disability payments, not social security, not cash assistance from TANF.   Of these, nearly a million households -- 1,105,000 -- included children.  Nearly all of these families with children should be eligible for cash assistance under TANF.

Source: "Table A: 16," Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2010, (United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, September 2011).

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