Calories in the average Thanksgiving dinner
Calories in the average Thanksgiving dinner Smooth Fitness

People collecting benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program in the US rose by 15 million since the start of the recession in December 2007, says a report.

With the new addition, the total number of people receiving the benefits from the program, commonly known as Food Stamps, increased to 42.2 million this Thanksgiving, accounting for 1.37 percent of the US population, said Economic Policy Institute on Wednesday.

In 2009, the number of people collecting food stamps stood at 36.2 million.The beneficiaries under this program are low and no-income families in the US.

The report attributed increase in the number to widened eligibility for this program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009. More adults without dependents got qualified to receive food stamps.

The recovery act also expanded the benefits under the program providing additional relief to some of the country’s poor individuals and families, EPI said.

The assistance provided by SNAP is like a direct cash transfer, which recipients spend quickly, returning to their local economies, the institute said.

However, rising food stamps usage showed a higher poverty rate and unemployment.

The poverty rate in the US rose to 14.3 percent in 2009 from 13.2 percent in the previous year, according to the Census Bureau.