WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that many American adults who rely on federal programs to meet basic needs work at fast food restaurants or in retail.
According to the report released on Nov. 18, Walmart, Food Lion, McDonald’s, Dollar General and Bojangles’ are estimated to have the most workers who received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for food in North Carolina.
The G.A.O. analyzed employment data from 11 states and Census data.
In the U.S., 12 million wage-earning adults (ages 19 to 64) are enrolled in Medicaid, a partnership between the federal government and states that finances health care for low-income individuals. Food assistance from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps around 9 million adults.
Those who work in the private sector and receive SNAP or Medicaid benefits were more likely to work in the leisure and hospitality industry and in food service and food preparation occupations than working adults who are not in the program.
The report finds about 70% of Americans who receive benefits worked full time and most worked for private sector employers in places like restaurants, department stores, and grocery stores.
In North Carolina, 1.2 million receive SNAP benefits. Of that, Walmart employed an estimated 3,511, Food Lion employed 2,259 and McDonald’s employed 1,782.
A spokesperson for Walmart released the following statement about the report:
“If not for the employment access Walmart and other companies provide, many more people would be dependent on government assistance. A small percentage of our workforce comes to us on public assistance, and we remove employment barriers and create opportunities for individuals that too many overlook. Walmart has invested more than $5 billion in increased pay, expanded health benefits, and a debt-free college program over the past five years and our starting rate is more than 50% higher than the federal minimum wage, which Washington hasn’t changed in more than a decade. We support efforts to raise the minimum wage while we continue to make investments in our associates.”
The full report can be found here.