Food Stamps Lose Stigma as Recession Deepens

A new report by The New York Times shows food stamp use at an all time high while the cost of health insurance for millions of laid-off Americans has nearly tripled as coverage for the first wave of COBRA subsidy recipients came to an end.

According to The New York Times, food stamps now feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. The backgrounds and socio-economic makeup of the more than 36 million recipients are so diverse, that the stigma once associated with receiving such government aid is beginning to fade.

“Their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs,” reads the article. “They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare… Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line.”

According to the paper, the use of food stamps is now expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people per day. Federal officials estimate there are another 15-16 million more still eligible.

Meantime, the temporary 65 percent COBRA subsidy which Congress approved earlier this year to help laid-off workers is set to expire this week, leaving millions of people having to decide between housing and health insurance.

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