State officials say nearly one in five Arizonans now rely on food stamps.
The Arizona Republic reports that food-stamp enrollment has doubled in Arizona in four years, to more than 1.1 million people. The state Department of Economic Security, which administers the federal program, says about half of those who receive food stamps in Arizona are children.
Families are eligible if they earn below 130 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $2,500 a month for a family of four. The average monthly Arizona Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit is $125 per person and $290 per household.
Debate over the nearly 50-year-old, $80 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is intensifying as Congress considers how much to cut government assistance for food amid the pending "fiscal cliff."