The number of people applying for food stamps has surged since President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill into law in February, with nearly 14 million people receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program this year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
But many people are finding it harder to get approved for food assistance, including those on disability, who have been struggling with food insecurity.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASSW) has warned that the rise in food stamp applications has left people who need assistance with nowhere to turn.
The agency says more than 2.5 million people received SNAP benefits in 2017.
The rise in applications has been a big concern for the group as the agency is under pressure from Congress and the Trump administration to increase the number of SNAP recipients, which are supposed to be paid out by the end of March.
But the latest figures show the number that received food stamps increased by only 12,000 to 7.6 million.
In a statement, NASSW president and CEO Jodie Boudreau said the government needs to improve its understanding of the impact of SNAP on the food stamp program.
“As more and more people have been able to access SNAP, more people are reaching out for help, and our work with them is vital to the success of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program,” she said.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement that more than 80 per cent of SNAP benefits went to people who qualified for them, a figure that has not changed in three years.
“The Department will continue to work with the NASSB and other agencies to ensure the Supplemental SNAP Program is a success for people and communities across America,” it said.