California's participation in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2022 peaked at 4.9 million people as of July (and then dropped to 4.6 million in August). That was higher than California's previous highest food stamp participation of 4.8 million people in June 2020.
What is more confusing is that the last time food stamp participation was this high, the Golden State's unemployment rate was over 16%. Currently, it is at 3.8% - the lowest level since at least 1976.
As JustTheNews.com reports, California has approved funding in the 2022-23 budget to allow undocumented immigrants ages 55 and over to get food assistance under the state-funded California Food Assistance Program, which is separate from the federally-funded SNAP program.
California has given extra SNAP money to recipients due to COVID-19.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in October that the COVID-19 state of emergency would end Feb. 28, 2023.
The per-person cost of the SNAP program has increased from $123.22 per month in March 2020 before the state of emergency declaration to $277.12 as of August 2022.
That $277.12 August 2022 benefit is the state's highest ever for the federal SNAP program.
Perhaps what is even more interesting about the latest slew of state-based data is that the number of individuals receiving food stamps in Tennessee has dropped to the lowest levels since November 2003.
Gov. Bill Lee did not renew a COVID-19 state of emergency in November 2021, which had been in effect for 20 months. Additional emergency SNAP benefits authorized by the federal government ended Dec. 31. The SNAP benefits cost per person was $256.66 in December and dropped in January to $166.82.
The state's unemployment rate during the pandemic peaked at 15.9% in April 2020 and dropped to 3.4% as of September 2022.
Lee also signed a law that took effect in May that added a work requirement to receive food assistance.
Can you spot the difference?