Food stamps helped reduce poverty rate, study finds

by Sabrina Tavernise

People applying for food stamps in Lawrenceville, Ga., in 2009, at the height of the recession. Photo: Erik S. Lesser/New York Times

WASHINGTON — A new study by the Agriculture Department has found that food stamps, one of the country’s largest social safety net programs, reduced the poverty rate substantially during the recent recession. The food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, reduced the poverty rate by nearly 8 percent in 2009, the most recent year included in the study, a significant impact for a social program whose effects often go unnoticed by policy makers.