I do not understand how to read the food stamp amount data. The codebook says this is a 5-string code, but is not very specific. When I download the data the range is from 0 to 17,000. No-one is getting 17,000 in food stamps. Any thoughts on how to read?
FDSTPAMT is a household-level variable and provides the dollar amount of the value of food stamps received by all members of the household during the past 12 months. A value of 1 indicates that the sum of all food stamps received across all household members over the past 12 months was $1. The household you cite that reports receiving $17,000 in food stamp benefits has 16 members who are noted as food stamp recipients. This additional information makes the 17,000 figure plausible. Note that a household includes everyone living at a given address, including tenants, regardless of whether the members are related or not. Note additionally that the ACS is a self-reported questionnaire. This Census Bureau paper documents issues with underreporting food stamp benefits, which may have been one of the reasons that the question was dropped by the 2008 ACS.