Food Stamps

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alabama food stamp users has increased by 17-percent since 2000 and nationally by 12-percent from 2000 to 2002.

The result of this increase is due to the poor economy. Officials with the state Department of Human Resources said when layoffs and downsizing occur, people apply for food stamps.

Officials say enrollment has also risen in the state's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF), better known as welfare, which was reformed by Congress in 1996.

Former Governor Don Siegelman increased those benefits from $164 to $215 a month.