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How Do Food Stamps Work?

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posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 04:47 AM
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People getting benefits. According to the Census Bureau, 49 percent now live in homes where at least one person gets a federal benefit. These include Social Security, workers comp, unemployment and subsidized housing. That's up from 44 percent the year before Obama took office, and way up from 1983, when fewer than a third were government beneficiaries.

Food stamps. More than 46 million or 15 percent of all Americans will get food stamps in 2012. That's 45 percent higher than when Obama took office and twice as high as the average for the previous 40 years. This surge was driven in part by the recession and because Obama boosted the benefit amount as part of his stimulus plan.

Disability. The number of people on Social Security disability has steadily climbed since the Seventies thanks mainly to easier eligibility rules. Those numbers have risen 10 percent in Obama's first two years in office, according to the Social Security Administration.

Health care. The government's role in health care has grown over the past decades, with 45 percent of all health spending now coming from the federal government, up from 32 percent in 1990. This trend will accelerate should 'ObamaCare' remain the law of the land.

www.catholic.org...

I think the first time I ever heard the words 'Food Stamps' was on an Eddie Murphy stand up routine when I was a kid. I could tell by the way he talked even when I was a kid that being on Food Stamps was something that you should be embarrassed about and ashamed of. Since then I have heard Food Stamps used as an insult countless times. Since Im not from America it is strange to me that there is such a stigma attatched to welfare programs in America.Such hate for those in need. I hear talk of people wanting to Drug Test Recipients,I also hear talk of people wanting to fingerprint all these millions of needy. Its seems so extreme.

I had a look on the US social security website to see who qualifies. I have read somewhere that to be elligable for assistance you must earn under a certain amount a year. When I saw the application I decided not to worry about specifics because it looks like a fair bit of boring reading. I also thought it must be a little daunting to fill out for many of the people that would need the Food Stamps.It does say they will provide help at a Social Security Office if you need it so I guess thats something.
www.ssa.gov...

Imagine being a child in a family that fell on hard times and was forced to use foodstamps. It would make the child feel terrible if they knew. So does anyone know how it is?

I was wondering if anyone actually knows any of these millions of people that rely on Food Stamps to eat? How does the whole thing work? Do they give you actual stamps? Stamps that you must take to a shop? Do all shops accept the stamps? Can you buy whatever you want with them or only certain items? I really feel sorry for these people. They must be so ashamed when they have to use them.
edit on 17-4-2012 by Germanicus because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 04:55 AM
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They used to give you actual stamps that you had to give to the cashier when you got food, now it is all on a card(similar to a debit or credit card). You are only allowed to buy certain things with food stamps. When I was young and living with my parents they needed it but my dad still had a full time job and worked hard every day, now people just get benefits and sit at home doing nothing which is why so many people get upset. I am not saying every one who is on food stamps or any other benefits does this, just the people who abuse the system which is why people want to find ways to stop the lazy people from getting them and make it so only people who deserve them can get them.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 04:58 AM
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reply to post by gbogh
 


Thanks. Thats good to hear. The Card thing sounds alot less embarrassing than actual stamps (:



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 04:59 AM
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Personally, I think the stigma was well placed and needs to exist. Unfortunately, the world where that stigma fit was one where food prices where included in the price index and inflation figures so things made sense and the qualification levels / wage levels all made some sense in ratio.

These days I don't think it's too much of a risk and certainly no insult to say most military families of the enlisted variety qualify with all rightful claim to food stamps and probably ought to get more of them when truth be told. I'd say the same about a great percentage of the nation that is under employed. Enough to make mortgage or rent, but barely, and definitely not enough to pay things like $4 a gallon for milk while putting out $5 for gas.

Oh.. but gee.. Energy and Food isn't included for inflation figures...or price index. So it looks like people using food stamps are abusing the system when, in fact, the numbers would show they're barely making it at all if they were honest. I don't know how anything changes when the numbers being used are all out of whack at the basic level.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 05:03 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Thanks for that. Its hard to find specifics on the subject. I find it pretty interesting.

Especially since they have named Obama the Food Stamp President



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 05:06 AM
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All of your points are very true. I believe the people who are honest and receiving food stamps truly do need them. I am in the military and on the enlisted side and know that people I worked with did receive food stamps even as a SGT. We don't make much but it is enough to get by. Being embarrased to use them would help keep people honest but now it's so easy noone can really tell.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 05:06 AM
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I currently use the food stamp program. When I first went to get on it, having a family of 6, I was kind of shocked that they were giving me less than $100 a month when I know of plenty of people in a better situation than I, who get a lot more. Since first getting on it they have upped me to $180 a month and we have tightened our belts on finances. I wish we didn't need to use this, but I'm glad it's here for people like me in need, but by next year I plan to be off of them, so I'll only be on them for a little over a year.

I do agree that anyone on any kind of assistance should have to get drug tested. I know a lot of people who cheat the system and get different aid programs so that they can spend their money on crap that they don't really need. Also I personally have never had a job that I didn't need to pass a drug test to have, and currently have a job that does random drug tests on employees. So if the people paying into the system need to be drug tested in order to pay for it, then why not test the people using the system?

I see these systems as a crutch for people in hard times, but too many people these days are using and abusing them. Going round about ways to get more money out of the system then they should be able to. I know I could get more if I had wanted to, but I'm an honest hard working person and wouldn't want to do that injustice to others.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 05:11 AM
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reply to post by Germanicus
 

Well, I'd say Obama gets both good and bad on this. The increase in people getting them has been building and heck, the social services agencies in some states run billboards to advertise to the local population that this program or that is being missed by too many so check out xxx to see if you qualify. I saw them over the years as a trucker.

It's that whole 'Use it or lose it' mentality in Government where if the whole budget isn't spent to the last dollar and a seeming deficit run each year than the budget will be cut the following year. It makes for the insane situation where Government agencys that should be helping people move off assistance are best served by more people getting on it so the budgets aren't reduced..hence people cut from the staffs. Crazy isn't it???


On the other hand, and where Obama gets a bad on things......The numbers are more cooked and massaged under him than they were under Bush. Treasury and Labor both cook their books so bad I swear there must be smoke coming from the buildings around report time, each time one is due to come out. Obama didn't start it, but like so many other things...He's taking it to an outright art form.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 05:33 AM
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Obama didn't start it, but like so many other things...He's taking it to an outright art form.
reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 



It seems like it hey.

He is sure short of solutions.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 05:50 AM
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I have met a few people that were on food assistance ( think that's the PC term... this may be a first for me ) who generally needed the help. They weren't bad people, just nice folks having a bad time. I'm sure they were mortified. I think it takes a real man or woman to suck up the pride, and actually apply for such a program, let alone go to the store and worry everyone is judging you. I'm all for it if it goes to people who are genuinely trying. I don't want my neighbors ( or anyone ) to go hungry.

I know there are people that abuse the system. Talk to a cashier at the grocery store someday and they will tell you about folks that come in and buy only nice cuts of meat, and specialty items with food stamps. Things most people would consider a luxury. That's not fair, or right. I also think there are no nutrition standards on what people buy. I have been led to believe a person could spend all the money they had on chips. Not OK.

The honest folks out there and especially their children should always be able to eat. If some jackasses scam the system, I guess so be it. I need to man up and start buying things for the local food bank. Damn't OP. Don't make me get all moral.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:03 AM
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reply to post by Domo1
 


Ha!

And yeah,I think if people are found to abuse the system they should face jail. Its a horrible thing to do and they are making it hard on those in need.

Maybe instead of Drig Testing and Finger Printing more effort can be put into screening the programs to ensure they are not abused.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:04 AM
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reply to post by Stompbox
 


Thanks hey.

I liked hearing your perspective and experience on it



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:04 AM
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reply to post by Germanicus

Food stamps are administered by each state so the details vary. But this is how Alabama does it (I should know; I have used food stamps since the economic downturn hit and I lost my job - thank you Bush / thank you Obama):

You apply for food stamps at the DHR (Department of Human Resources). That involves filling out a very intrusive form describing your complete financial situation. Our requirements are a maximum of $2000 in liquid assets and income below a certain level. A case worker is assigned who interviews you. If approved, you get a special debit card and your benefits are added to the card on a certain day of each month. There is a six-month review of every case, which is very similar to the application process.

No one is required to accept the debit card (EBT card), but almost all food outlets do in order to get the business. It works just like a bank debit card, but only for cold food items. Hot, prepared food is not covered, and neither are non-food essentials (toilet paper, soap, etc.)

Fraud is a concern, although less now than back when they did actually issue pamphlets of coupons (stamps) that stores could accept for food. Back then there was a black market for food stamps, as certain individuals could conspire with store employees to exchange the stamps for cash. Today the only real fraud is doing something similar with a friend or family member who is already buying groceries in order to get cash or by cashiers manually ringing up non-food items as food.

The social outcries are in response to some recipients who use food stamps and other government assistance to coast through life, with no hope or plans to improve their position in life. Quite a few of these people are drug users, and thus the suggestion to drug test recipients.

Hope that answered your questions.

TheRedneck



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:15 AM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 





That involves filling out a very intrusive form describing your complete financial situation.


Do you know if they actually check with the bank? I also wonder if you had money and just plopped $500 in a different account, would they be proactive enough to ask other banks? Is it an honor system? Do they have any other criteria like where you live?

I'm sorry times are tough but you look like you can deal with it. Best of luck.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:21 AM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


Hey mate,

Thanks for filling me in


Sounds like better screening is the sensible solution as opposed to the tests and prints.
edit on 17-4-2012 by Germanicus because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:30 AM
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They used to give you actual stamps here as well. Now they have the EBT [Electronic Benefits Card] that worked like a debit card.You have to fill out an actual book to apply for benefits. You have to have bank statements, utility bills, statements of property owned, vehicle information, etc. They also run a credit report to make sure that you don't have property/goods that you are leaving out. After the first month you have to send in paperwork stating that your situation still qualifies for assistance. If it does you do not have to reapply for a whole year.

Sadly, it is like most anything else and a ton of people abuse it beyond belief. I do not begrudge anyone help in a time of dire need and understand that folks do fall on hard times. My economic situation took a nose dive like other's did recently, only we are lucky enough to have family that can assist if need be. Not everyone has that.I think the program is so overloaded that they do not have the time to keep check on everyone the way they should. As a result the abuse is growing by leaps and bounds.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:32 AM
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reply to post by Germanicus
 


Most of your questions have been answered pretty well, but I guess I will add my own opinions and experiences.

For the past year I have worked with juveniles in a wilderness detention program that are sent there by the state for a variety of crimes (ages 14-17, all male). I start here, because it is my most direct experience of dealing with assistance programs in my country (US). I would venture to say that 80% of the young men that I work with daily come from a home that receives some form of assistance, the majority include food stamps.

I go over each boys file when they are processed in, to gain insight as to how to best interact with them during their time in our program (ranging from 3 months to 18 months). More than half come from single parent homes, that is if they even live with one of their parents.. in several cases a year, both parents are either deceased or incarcerated. The ones that do have family that come and visit, have families that come and visit in a car or suv that I could have bought two or three of my cars with what they payed.. yet somehow they are on foodstamps.. many live in homes that are given through government programs as well.. with little to no cost to the family. Job title for the majority of these homes: unemployed.. yet their parents come wearing nice clothes with their hair done nicely.. nails.. etc. All of this is relevant because they receive government assistance out of my check, and millions of Americans like me.

My wife and I, I'm sure if we looked hard enough could find some form of government help that we could apply for and receive.. either due to deceptive answers on applications, or based on our needs being higher than what we earn in some cases. The catch is.. we don't need assistance. We have never asked for assistance, and we have never went without those needs, nor have we went without living a comfortable lifestyle. Are we rich? Of course not.

My point is.. there are far many more people receiving assistance that don't need it, than do. This is where the anger and frustration comes from.. and it gets worse when we hear the counter argument that "oh, you don't care about the poor and needy".. to that I say.. BULL#. Are there racist that blame the problems on "lazy blacks" or "dirty, no good illegals"? Sure, but many like me, don't blame the people, black.. white or purple. It's the system, not that they have created.. but that we have allowed our government to create. A system that holds people back and gives them a false sense of "help". It isn't help. In the long run, it's a burden that holds many communities around the country back every year.

We have a justice system that isn't fair to minorities, which puts them in a position to fall into the trap of assistance. If the justice system was fair, and there were no government assistance crutches for people that don't really need them, this country, and the world would be a lot better off. I would venture to say that less people would be going hungry, because there would be more help going to those in our communities that really needed the help to begin with.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:35 AM
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reply to post by Domo1

I do know I had to bring in bank statements and they went over them quite thoroughly. In the last review, I had helped a friend out by ordering some things online for him (he doesn't have Internet) and letting him just pay me. The worker asked me, "Do you usually buy a lot of things on the Internet?", and I had to explain what happened.

I used food stamps for a short time back when I lost my business. I was not employed anywhere so I wasn't sure if we could even qualify (I worked for "officers compensation" instead of wages). The interviewer asked me what my business was named and if it had a phone number. when I said yes, he actually looked up the number in the phone book and called it to verify it had been disconnected... all right there in front of me while watching my reactions.

They are pretty thorough.

I think they run a check using the SSN with local banks to make sure accounts aren't hidden. There are questions about how much actual cash on hand you have, but I am not sure how they verify that. You also have to list all houses and operable automobiles you own: you are allowed one homestead and two vehicles without penalty.

As for handling it... yeah, I can. I refused to use food stamps before I had a family, and actually went hungry for one entire week while still working. Let me tell you, that's a hunger most here I doubt have experienced. It's not just a discomfort; after a few days, you can actually feel your body rebelling. Concentration is extremely difficult and there is this weak feeling that permeates you completely. After I finally got paid for that week's work, I stopped by a Krystals and ordered a family pack; I ate until I was almost sick, and didn't mind the sick feeling at all.

Once I had a family depending on me, I swallowed my pride. But I will still celebrate the day I can call the DHR and thank them for all the help, but also ask them to take me off the rolls. Life is never static, and just because I am sitting on the bottom today doesn't mean I can't be on top tomorrow. After all, I have been on top before. A half-century of ups and downs have taught me that.

TheRedneck



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:38 AM
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reply to post by broahes
 





Most of your questions have been answered pretty well, but I guess I will add my own opinions and experiences.


I agree.
Thanks for adding though. I liked hearing your perspective. Cant have too many opinions hey.



posted on Apr, 17 2012 @ 06:39 AM
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reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe
 





They used to give you actual stamps here as well.


I thought they must have. Glad they have gone to a card.




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