A side effect of the improving economy: About 1 million needy people will lose food stamp benefits starting this fall.
That's a new estimate by a left-leaning think tank, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which is urging Congress to change a federal law that limits how long someone can receive food stamps when they are out of a job.
Under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, most adults without children can receive food stamps for only three months unless they are working or attending a job training program at least 20 hours a week.
The three-month period was designed in the mid-1990s as a compromise between lawmakers who wanted a safety net and those who wanted to give beneficiaries an incentive to work.
But during the recession, most states got a waiver of the three-month cap because unemployment surged.
Today, 42 states still have full or partial waivers from the cap, according to numbers from the Agriculture Department, which coordinates the federally-funded SNAP program.
And now as the economy is improving, the three-month limit is expected to kick in again in many states.