Food Stamps Alliance

Taking on the Stigma around Food Stamps

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Why Trump’s Food Stamps Box is Bad Idea

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President Trump is pushing a proposal to replace food stamps with what he calls a “Blue Apron” style program where food stamps recipients will receive a portion of their benefits in a box that is delivered to their house each month. We think Trump’s food stamps box is a bad idea and here are three major reasons why:

Trump’s Food Stamps Box is Demeaning

There is a stigma associated with food stamps in the United States that is mainly perpetuated by Republicans.

While the data actually shows that most households getting foods stamps have an adult that is working, there is still this perception that people on food stamps are not trying hard enough in life.

The perception is that people on foods stamps are simply not pulling themselves by the bootstraps and are lazy. They are taking advantage of the American taxpayers.

The thinking is that if only they tried hard enough, they will be able to find work and afford to pay for their own food.

The reality is actually far from that. The truth is that most people on SNAP benefits are actually working. They are not able to afford to purchase all their food because they are not making enough money.

When you hear stories from food stamps recipients who are working, you will find that some are working several jobs to make ends meet. They are just unable to pay for all their nutritional needs from what they are making, especially when they have kids, elderly or a disabled person in the household.

To deny them the ability to go buy their own food with their EBT card and send them generic government food is degrading and place more stigma on people receiving food stamps when most of them are trying really hard and just need a little help to make ends meet.

The average individual recipients get $126 a month, which translates to $4.2 a day, which is about $1.4 per meal. They are not making out like bandits and should not be treated as such.

Quality of Food Will be Worse

"Why Trump's Food Stamps Box is Bad Idea"

Another misconception that has been going around is that people on foods stamps use their money to buy junk, compared to what people who are not on food stamps buy. Again, this is further from the truth.

A study done by the Huffington Post shows that the food purchased by people on foods stamps is not that different from food purchased by those who don’t receive government assistance.

Therefore the idea that people on SNAP are going to make bad choices when it comes to what they buy versus the general population, and therefore the government needs to intervene and send them nutritious food is not supported by the data out there.

In addition, what’s would happen is that the government will purchase food from the lowest cost provider, and as companies bid to the bottom to win the contract, the quality of the food will deteriorate, versus what recipients can purchase at the grocery store on their own.

Furthermore, there is no assurance that the USDA will hold these companies to a higher standard to provide quality food.

Recipients will end up with sub-standard food – including low quality canned food produced with low-quality ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, lots of sodium and preservatives.

The better option is what we have now, which is allowing people on SNAP to purchase their own food at any grocery store or farmers market. This gives them access to quality, nutritious food options if they desire to purchase that. The current food stamps program works. Why change something that is working well?

Delivery Issues

Even if the government is able to deliver quality, nutritious food, this is a massive undertaking. There are about 39 million people on food stamps. Can we trust the US government to deliver a box to 39 million people each month?

We are talking about food here. How can we be sure that the people who the food is meant for actually receive them?

If someone does not receive their package, what is the recourse? Our suspicious is that this will create a side industry of people who steal these packages and sell them.

Those that will suffer are the elderly or disabled or those who live in poor neighborhoods where mail safety is an issue.

To make this work, the government will have to contract out the delivery of the packages to services with tracking, which will be more expensive perhaps negate any savings expected.

Even then, there is no guarantee that the packages will make it to the intended recipient.

For a government that passed a law requiring Social Security checks to be received electronically due to the┬ácost of mailing, theft and delivery issues – it’s hard to imagine that the same government can be trusted to deliver food to 39 million people each month.

People need food. They are on food stamps because they need help meeting their nutrition needs. These are not the people to experiment with.

The current system works. Money is put on EBT cards and can only be used to purchase approved food at approved locations. What’s wrong with that?

We hope this article helps to inform you on why Trump’s food stamps box is a bad idea.

Nov 2, 2018

Top 3 FAQs about Food Stamps

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From our last article, we presented data showing that there are record numbers of people on public food assistance (food stamps or SNAP Benefits) and we explained why we think this number has been fairly high and remains high despite the improvement in the US economy and all the talk about recovery. Today, we want to talk about the top most asked questions on the food stamps program and our answers to them. Here they are:

1. How do I Qualify for Food Stamps

To find out if you qualify for food assistance, you have to contact your state’s agency that is responsible for the program. Even though the SNAP benefits program is a federal program, it is administered at the state level. The qualification criteria is generally uniform and set by the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture. However, states are free to set their own additional requirements beyond the federal guidelines, which some states have attempted to do. For example the state of Georgia wanted to require drug testing for food stamps applicants, which was rejected by the Department of Agriculture.

2. Can you get Food Stamps and be Employed

There is a big misconception that only people who are unemployed or lazy apply for food stamps. There is also the general belief that most people getting food assistance are getting it to help an elderly person or a child in their household. However, there are more people employed that are receiving help with food assistance than there are children or elderly people on the program. That speaks to the magnitude of the problem and why there should be no shame in applying for the program. So, the answer is yes, you can apply for SNAP benefits even if you are employed. As the video above shows, there are growing number of people on food stamps in the middle class now – highlighting the devastating effects of the recession.

3. What Can I Use my EBT Card to Purchase

The EBT Card is the card that people on food assistance get to make their food purchases. It is a prepaid debit card and the money for food aid is deposited on the card so you can use it to buy food like any other debit card you have in your wallet. However, there is one difference. You are only allowed to use this card to purchase a specific list of food items, unlike say the Social Security Benefits Prepaid Debit Card, which can be used to purchase whatever the recipient wants to buy . Since the goal of the program is to help people get food they absolutely need, it is understandable why you cannot use the card to purchase food at restaurants or hot foods. Here are the foods you can buy using your EBT Card:

Households CAN use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Foods for the household to eat, such as:
  • breads and cereals;
  • fruits and vegetables;
  • meats, fish and poultry; and
  • dairy products.
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.

In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.

As you can see, this is not a list that allows you to buy “luxury” food items but the basic necessities that you absolutely need.

Filed under EBT Debit Card, SNAP
Sep 13, 2014

What is the number of people on Food Stamps?

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According to this article published last year by the Washington Post, there are 47 million Americans on Food Stamps. Why are there so many people needing government assistance to buy food? Blame the great recession. That took a huge toll on many households. There are some who saw their wages and hours cut. Others lost their jobs and saw their unemployment benefits run out before they could find another job. There are households where both parents are working but are not making enough to be able to cover all their expenses. That’s why there is a big jump in the number of people on SNAP benefits.

"how many people are on food stamps"

 

As you can see from the image above, which was taken from the same article, there were about 25 million people on food stamps in 2006 through 2007. The number of people on government benefits regarding food stamps quickly rose as the recession kicked in from 2008 peaking in late 2012 close to 50 million people. That’s almost double what it was before the great recession. Unfortunately, the number has not moved much from the peak because people are still hurting and need the help. Even though the economy is improving, many people are still unemployed or underemployed. There are some who have stopped looking and are in households that are still in need of government assistance.

In addition, record numbers of seniors are now on food stamps, which disturbing because their prospects for getting off public assistance is slim since they are on fixed income. As the video above shows, working people need food assistance the most. That is a change from before when the highest number was children and the elderly. That shows that the perception that slackers are the one on food stamps, and therefore taking advantage of the government is simply not true.

Filed under Food Stamps
Sep 12, 2014