A new report by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that despite improvements in the economy the amount of children and families receiving food stamp benefits, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, is still at record high numbers.

In 2014, an estimated 16 million children, or about one in five, receive food stamp benefits through the SNAP government program. Overall in 2014, 46.5 million people received benefits from the food stamp program.

The average food stamp benefit per person in 2014 was $125.35 per month ($1,504.20 per year) according to data released by the United States Department of Agriculture. All in all, the total cost for the food stamps entitlement program for 2014 was $74.1 billion.

While the amount of recipients is still near an all time high, for 2014 there were 1 million less people on the program compared to 2013. Meanwhile, the total cost for 2014 were $5 billion less than in 2013. Still, the program has gone on steroids since 2008 when only 28 million people were receiving benefits in comparison to 46 million now, nearly doubling under the Obama administration.

A family of four who makes less than $31,000 per year before tax may be eligible for food stamp benefits of up to $649 per month according to information available from the USDA. The amount varies by household depending on income and deductions. The free money is suppose to be used to supplement household incomes who cannot afford to buy food. Unfortunately, the program often suffers from abuse and the program is a frequent target of politicians.