Spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will continue to fall as the economy recovers and the number of SNAP participants falls, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reiterated this week in updated spending projections (see chart). CBO’s estimate of SNAP spending over the next ten years, based on the SNAP rules now in place, is about 7 percent lower than its forecast from a year ago, mainly due to lower food prices.
SNAP caseloads grew significantly between 2007 and 2012 as the recession and lagging recovery led more low-income households to qualify and apply for help. Those trends reversed in recent years and CBO expects that the number of participants will continue to fall by about 2 to 4 percent each year over the next decade, returning close to 2007 levels by 2027.
As a result, CBO expects SNAP spending as a share of gross domestic product to fall every year, returning to its 1995 level by 2019. We’ve updated our paper on SNAP caseloads and spending to reflect the new projections.