Data from the National Survey of America's Families show that food stamp participation rates increased significantly between 1997 and 2002 for former welfare recipients with monthly incomes below poverty. The participation rates for poor families with children and no welfare experience did not change since 1997. For example, less than one in three families without welfare experience and incomes below one-half the poverty line (two-thirds of all families in this income category) reported receiving food stamps in 2002. This suggests that new food stamp program rules and procedures designed to facilitate access to benefits are only making a difference for families with some connection to the cash welfare system.
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