Aid to Jobless Workers in Florida in the Face of the Great Recession: The Interaction of Unemployment Insurance and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program

Peter R. Mueser, University of Missouri, Columbia

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) caseload has grown to 47.7 million people in January 2013,15.1% of all Americans. Unemployment Insurance (UI), although historically reaching only half of all unemployed workers, is a significant source of income for those who qualify. This paper examines administrative data from Florida for SNAP and UI from late 2005 through early 2010.Our results show that not only have the number of recipients who draw on benefits in both programs increased dramatically, but the use of the two programs has become much more intertwined for these recipients. Those households that draw primarily on UI and receive relatively subsidiary payments from SNAP, rare prior to the recession, are appreciably more common. Yet UI provides aid to only a small portion of the SNAP caseload, and the growth in the SNAP caseload that followed the recession dwarfs the number of individuals drawing on both UI and SNAP.

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Presented in Session 10: Safety Net Programs and the Great Recession