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SAN ANTONIO – When Amanda Vaca's husband lost his job, the couple took stock of their finances and drew a startling conclusion: They could not afford to feed their four young children.
The recession has landed millions of hungry families in similar straits, forcing them to endure long waits for help buying basic groceries. A review by The Associated Press found that dozens of food-stamp programs in 39 states left at least a quarter of applicants waiting weeks or months for food aid, some in areas that were not particularly hard hit by the economic downturn.
Federal law requires applications for food stamps to be reviewed within 30 days of being filed, and even faster for the poorest families. Failure to do so can subject agencies to federal sanctions and lawsuits, but individual families are largely at the mercy of their local administrators.
A record 40 million people — one in eight Americans — now rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, the official name of the modern food stamp program, which began in 1961. The number of participating households increased by one-fifth in fiscal 2009, and many states' food-stamp rolls grew by a third or more.
Families receiving SNAP assistance are expected to spend 30 percent of their monthly income on food. For this reason, SNAP allotments are calculated by multiplying your family's monthly income by .3. This number is then "subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment," according to neighborhoodlink.com.
A single person can get a maximum monthly allotment of $200. A married couple can get as much as $365. The maximum allotment for a family of three is $526, and a family of four can receive $668. These amounts continue to increase exponentially up to a family of eight, which receives $1,202. According to the USDA, families larger than eight can get an extra $150 for each additional family member.
For example, a family of four earning $1,163 a month receives a monthly allotment of $319. This is because when its monthly income is multiplied by .3, it equals $349. When this amount is subtracted from the family's maximum monthly allotment of $668, you get a total SNAP allotment of $319.
Originally posted by buni11687
reply to post by muzzleflash
People are waiting months just for the food assistance paperwork to go through. If the people didnt have anything to eat for months, im sure people would be robbing grocery stores and all that stuff. The food assistance offices are overloaded with paperwork and dont have enough people to process it all in time.
Originally posted by State of Mind
Working in a grocery store, I see at LEAST fifteen fat f*s a day come in and purchase a ton of ice cream, candy, energy drinks, and chips on foodstamps. Then they pull a fifty out of their wallet and buy a carton of cigs. And then, they load all of their unhealthy crap into a brand new car. Something needs to change. Allow healthy food for children, but adults should be able to fend for themselves. The foodstamp program was supposed to be a temporary program anyways! I also think that if we are going to give handouts, we should at least make drug-testing mandatory.
DENVER (AP) ― Colorado social workers say that attempts to fix the state computer system blamed for delays in food stamps and other public assistance are making things worse.
The system installed in 2004 has a history of communications problems, crashes and failures, including overpayments and underpayments. New problems started last month as agencies' caseloads increased and the Colorado Benefits Management System reached the limits of its capacity.
Social workers sent a letter July 12 to state officials saying that changes to the system are causing new problems.
State officials say they are writing a response. A long-term fix is expected to be completed in November.
The system serves about 703,000 people, up 25 percent from about 561,000 in 2004. It processes more than 4 million transactions daily.