The decline in food stamp participation, especially among eligible families moving from welfare to work, is limiting the government's ability to supplement the incomes of low-income working families. This paper suggests that one reason for low participation among eligible working families is that many do not apply for benefits if they already meet their food needs. The unfortunate result is that such households do not take advantage of the earnings supplement role of food stamps. This paper proposes a new approach to delivering benefits to working families that would encourage participation and strengthen the program's ability to supplement earnings.
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