Government Assistance

Who in Idaho receives government assistance for food?

Boys and Girls Clubs of Ada County by USDA  New Moms Participating... by USDA

Government assistance programs at the state and federal levels help families meet their needs in times of crisis. Examples of food-related assistance include Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho (TAFI); the National School Lunch Program (NSLP); the Idaho Food Stamp Program (SNAP); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

  • Over 345,590 Idahoans – 21.1 % of the population – receive Medicaid, food stamps, cash assistance, and/or child care assistance from the state and federal government each year.1
  • In an average month, 2,645 children and 188 adults receive TAFI assistance to help pay for food, shelter, clothing, and other essentials.2
    • TAFI participants receive a maximum of $309 per month, regardless of family size
    • TAFI is truly temporary: the lifetime limit for adults is 24 months of assistance
    • Adults receiving TAFI benefits are required to work or participate in work-preparation activities
  • For many children, school lunch is their only reliable meal each day:
    • 136,000 (49%) of Idaho’s K-12 students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school3
  • In an average month, 201,098 Idahoans (1 in 8) receive food stamps.2
    • The average food stamp allotment is $115 per person per month, approximately $1.28 per meal2
    • 58% of households receiving food stamps include at least one child5
    • 20% of households receiving food stamps include at least one person over the age of 605
    • 85% of the households receiving food stamps include at least one working adult5
    • Power County has the highest food stamp participation rate: 17.8%4
    • Blaine County has the lowest food stamp participation rate: 3.8%4
  • In an average month, 40,951 low-income women and young children are served at WIC clinics in Idaho2
    • WIC provides an average of $58 per client each month in grocery vouchers for prescribed healthy foods
  • In 2015, Idaho TEFAP distributed more than $2 million worth of food through food banks and soup kitchens to 247,609 households2


  1. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (2016)
  2. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (2015-2016)
  3. University of Idaho (2014)
  4. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (2016)
  5. USDA (2015)
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