Hannity Omits The “Food Stamp” Facts: Most Recipients Have Jobs, Or Are Seniors Or Children

On Fox, Sean Hannity asked if people are “better off on food stamps” or “better off with a job.” But most recipients of food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, are working-class Americans with jobs, or are senior citizens or children.

Hannity Asks If Americans “Are Better Off On Food Stamps” Or “Better Off With A Job”

Hannity: “Do You Think People Are Better Off On Food Stamps, Or Are They Better Off With A Job?” During the September 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity asked Fox News contributor and Democratic strategist Joe Trippi: “Do you think people are better off on food stamps, or are they better off with a job?” [Fox News, Hannity, 9/18/12]

But Many SNAP Recipients Do Have Jobs ...

USDA: In 2010, 41 Percent Of SNAP Participants Lived “In A Household With Earnings.” According to a USDA report on SNAP recipients for fiscal year 2010, “many SNAP participants had jobs.” The report stated that "[n]early 30 percent of SNAP households had earnings in 2010" and “41 percent of all SNAP participants lived in a household with earnings.” The report added, “For most of these households, earnings were the primary source of income.” [USDA.gov, September 2011, emphasis original]

CBPP: In 2010, “Over Three Times As Many SNAP Households Worked As Relied Solely On Welfare Benefits For Their Income.” A July report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) noted that "[n]early half of SNAP families with children are working families" and continued:

Over the last two decades, large shares of SNAP households have become working households. In 1989, 42 percent of all SNAP households received cash welfare benefits and only 20 percent had earned income. By 2010, over three times as many SNAP households worked as relied solely on welfare benefits for their income.

Despite the large jump in unemployment during the recession, the share of SNAP families with earnings has continued to increase in recent years.  This suggests that for a growing share of the nation's workers, having a job has not been enough to keep them out of poverty. [CBPP, 7/9/12]

... Or Are Seniors Or Children

USDA: In 2010, Most SNAP Participants Were “Children Or Elderly.” According to the USDA report, most SNAP participants in 2010 “were children or elderly” Americans:

Most SNAP participants were children or elderly. Nearly half (47 percent) were under age 18 and another 8 percent were age 60 or older. Working-age women represented 28 percent of the caseload, while working-age men represented 17 percent. [USDA.gov, September 2011, emphasis original]

USA Today: Many SNAP Beneficiaries Were “Children Under Age 18,” “Age 60 Or Older,” Or “Working Poor.” A January 18 USA Today article described what types of people receive SNAP benefits, according to the same USDA report:

Who gets food stamps?

The most recent Department of Agriculture report on the general characteristics of the SNAP program's beneficiaries says that in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010:

••47% of beneficiaries were children under age 18.

••8% were age 60 or older.

••41% lived in a household with earnings from a job -- the so-called “working poor.”

••The average household received a monthly benefit of $287.

••36% were white (non-Hispanic), 22% were African American (non-Hispanic) and 10% were Hispanic. [USA Today, 1/18/12, emphasis original]