By Lisa Mascaro
An estimated 45 million Americans received food stamps in 2011 — more than ever, at a cost of $78 billion. That was a sizable increase from 2007, when 26 million Americans received food assistance at a cost of $30 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The average household using food stamps has a monthly income of $731 and receives $287 in SNAP benefits, the budget office said. Three-fourths of the households include a child, a disabled person or someone older than 60.