The idea for the first FSP is credited to various people, most notably Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program's first Administrator Milo Perkins. The foundation for SNAP was first built in 1933 as part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). The program, referred to as the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation, was established in the midst of the Great Depression. To formalize this food distribution and to avoid duplicating efforts by local relief agencies, Secretary of Agriculture, Henry Wallace, created the Food Stamp Program in the United States.
Over the course of nearly 4 years, the first FSP reached approximately 20 million people at one time or another in nearly half of the counties in the U.S.
On Jan. 31, 1964, President Johnson requested Congress to pass legislation making the FSP permanent. Today, the SNAP program is the largest Federal food assistance program in the country. Serving 14% of the population (more than 45 million Americans).
The 2014 SNAP legislation, enacted by President Obama, does not permit benefits to be used to purchase alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, hot food and any food sold for on-premises consumption.