Washington US food-stamp use, which US Republicans have cited as evidence of a failing economy, rose 0.5 per cent to a record in December, the government said.
About 46.514 million Americans received aid, up from 46.286 million in November, the US Department of Agriculture said in an email. Participation was 5.5 per cent higher than a year earlier.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme provides financial assistance for food purchasing to low- and no-income people and families living in the US.
Food stamps have become a theme in the presidential campaign, as enrollment has increased 47 per cent since December 2008, the month before President Barack Obama took office. Annual spending has more than doubled in four years to a record $75.3 billion (Dh276 billion), a level called unsustainable by Republicans including Newt Gingrich, who has labelled Obama "the best food-stamp president in American history".
The number of Americans receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme, the initiative better-known as food stamps, set records every month from December 2008 until June 2011. The government spent $6.22 billion on the programme in December.