But now, that stimulus money has expired and there is less cash to pay for the programme – even as participation is at an all-time high.
Republicans want to cut funding for Snap because they say the costly programme is being abused by Americans reluctant to look for work.
So what exactly are food stamps? The BBC breaks it all down in this short explainer.
Produced by David Botti
Sources: US Department of Agriculture and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Additional images: Thinkstock and Getty Images