The Wall Street Journal has an article this week, along with an interactive map and chart, on the numbers of people across the country who are receiving food stamps.

The report is based on February 2011 statistics of the numbers of people in each state who are receiving food stamps, officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In Michigan, those benefits generally are distributed via the Michigan Bridge Card.

The national average is 14.3 percent of the population is receiving food stamps. But the Michigan average is 19.6 percent – fifth highest in the nation. Mississippi is the highest with 20.6 percent.

Of further note, there has been an 11.4 percent increase in the numbers of Michigan residents on food stamps since February 2010.

Do remember there was some tweaking in April as to eligibility requirements for Michigan residents who are college students. Some of them were dropped from the program once that loophole was closed.

That being said, Michigan is still feeling the effects of the recession and I don’t expect weeding out of the less needy college students to have much impact on the overall participation level.

I have a lot of headlines and tips about the Michigan Bridge Card and the food stamp program in my archives. They include explanations of what can, and can’t be purchased with food stamps, how to use coupons to stretch your funds when you are on the program, and the food stamp allocation dates for Michigan in 2011 (that schedule is shifting throughout the year).

I also have noted in my grocery database what retailers in the Monroe County, Mich., area will accept Bridge Card as payment for eligible purchases.

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