The current number of recipients stands at 46.1 million, the lowest number since August 2011, Doering writes. "USDA data showed the average amount received per person in March was $125.29, and each household collected about $256.96." As part of the Farm Bill passed in January, the Republican House cut the program by $8.6 billion over the next decade, largely by tightening eligibility rules for people who qualify for federal heating assistance.
The program increased by 2.2 percent, or one million new recipients, in 2013, but that was the smallest growth since 2007. It lost 79,476 recipients in March, "with the current total declining 3.41 percent on a year-over-year basis," reports the blog Paper Economy. Even though the total number of participants is down, it still represents 18.69 percent of the U.S. population. (Read more) (Paper Economy graphic)