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One in four US kids on food stamps.

New statistics show that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as “food stamps,” has served one in four American children as of fiscal year 2011, Press TV reports.

The data released by the US Department of Agriculture and US Census Bureau said nearly 27 million kids used the SNAP in 2011, indicating a growing trend in the number of people, specifically children, using such programs. 

“Anytime that children or anyone, but children specially, become increasingly dependent on people outside their family, of course is not a good situation and something that we need to change,” said US domestic policy analyst John Milesi. 

The rising number of people using the food stamp program is directly influenced by the increase in spending levels that have been doubled in the last four years and quadrupled since 2001. 

Approximately 15.5 million recipients have been added to the SNAP rolls since the beginning of 2009. The average monthly SNAP benefit per recipient is approximately USD 133, which is not enough for many.

The increase in enrolment has prompted the question of whether there should be reforms in how people qualify for aid. 

“It’s a problem that most of our recent immigrants who are mostly Hispanic have low education and because of that they can’t secure the jobs needed to support their family and therefore we have lots of children, legal children, who are on food stamps,” Milesi said. 

The Obama administration has what some consider a relaxed policy for qualifying for food stamps and the president has been sharply criticized for the rise in the number of people using food stamps in the country. 

Food stamps and the amount of money the government spends on them will be part of the economic dialog that the Congress has been fighting over for months. In the fiscal year 2012, the US government spent a record of USD 80.4 billion on food stamps, nearly a USD 3 billion increase from the previous fiscal year.