Author Topic: Food Stamps reductions hitting people  (Read 5733 times)

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Offline Matthew

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Food Stamps reductions hitting people
« on: November 13, 2013, 07:07:30 AM »
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  • Starting Friday, Joyce Lewis and her family will lose $44 from their monthly food stamp benefits.

    The food stamps buy a lot of economical rice-based meals for the family -- four adults and a grandson who live with Lewis in Spring Hill, Florida.
    Occasionally, when her grocery store is running a deal, Lewis indulges the family with spare ribs or chicken.
    The benefit -- totaling $800 for four adults -- never lasts Lewis and her family a full month.
    "When I get to the end, we always run out. I try to go to all the food pantries," Lewis said.
    Food stamp benefits will be trimmed by $5 billion starting Friday, when a temporary bump-up enacted during the recession expires. Millions of families will be affected.
    Lewis, 55, is worried because the cuts are coming at a bad time. Among other things, a second grandchild is due in January.
    She is also fighting the bank from foreclosing on her home.
    And even though she doesn't smoke, Lewis suffers from emphysema, which prevents her from working.
    Lewis attributes the emphysema to a lifetime of bartending in smoke-filled nonprofit social clubs, such as Elks and Moose lodges.
    Her adult daughters who live with her aren't in a position to work -- one is a new mom, and another is due to give birth soon.
    The low point came this summer, when she didn't have enough to pay the full electricity bill. Lewis needs power to run her breathing machine to treat her illness. So she pawned her wedding ring for $325.
    A few weeks ago, she started getting disability payments for her disease. She promptly used it to get back her ring for $487 before it was sold.
    "That was $162 I paid in interest to keep the lights on and put food on the table," Lewis said.
    Enrollment in food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has soared.
    Some 47.6 million people, or nearly 15% of the population, get them, according to September federal data. That compares to 26.3 million, or 8.7% of the population, in 2007. The average benefit per person is $133.19 a month.
    For families who rely on food stamps, it means a lot of planning and tough choices.
    Hugh Sewell, 54, has been on food stamps for two years. He gets the maximum allowed for his family of three -- $526 a month. The benefits will likely be cut by $29 to $497, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    That would be tough, Sewell says. The first time the family got food stamps, after he lost his job in 2010, they blew through the allotment halfway through the month.
    After that, the Sewells started making detailed budgets, meal plans and shopping lists.
    "We buy a lot of beans, rice and potatoes," said Sewell, who lives in Philadelphia. "Towards the end of the month, you're eating all the box stuff, and a lot more pasta with sauce."
    Related: McDonald's helps workers get food stamps
    Last month, Sewell landed a job as an audio technician.
    The job paid $12 an hour, a lot less than the $25 he used to make before he was laid off.
    Sewell asked his employer to lower his wages to $9 an hour instead.
    Why? He did the math and found that $12 an hour was just enough to cause a reduction in his government benefits, and could cost him and his family its Medicaid coverage for health care.
    At the same time, the income from $12 an hour would not be enough to pay his bills, including the $900 a month he would have to pay for health insurance for his family.
    Sewell is hoping to find a job that pays enough to allow his family to get off government assistance.
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    Offline Matthew

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 07:12:14 AM »
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  • I don't know where to begin with this article.

    I guess my first point of shock is that both the people featured in the article talk about eating rice/beans/pasta because they "only" get $500 for a family of 3, or $800 for 4 adults and a child. That seems like quite a bit. What would they spend per month if they were living high on the hog? $1000? $1200?

    Are they shopping exclusively in the frozen section? Dry bags of rice and beans are NOT that expensive. Maybe the cost of food is drastically higher once you leave Texas...

    And, of course, I note how well she's kept her natural brownish-red hair color, even into her mid 50's. Wow...

    But as a Trad Catholic residing on CathInfo, I would like to philosophize a bit and dig around for the heart of the problem.

    All they say about her family is that it's 4 adults and a grandson, and that "her adult daughters" live with her. Considering that she counts as one of them, that leaves 3 adults. So that's either 3 adult daughters, or 1 single mom and one couple. Either way, it says a lot about the modern world.
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    Offline Tiffany

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 07:43:19 AM »
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  • I didn't believe the rice and beans either.. not for $800 a month. That sounds like the liberal journalist nonsense.

    I ate my wedding ring too but was given a lot less for it.. like $2.

    I believe the part about him reducing his wages. I know first hand it penalizes people for trying.

    I will say the allotments are so high at the full benefit amount, they don't really give people an incentive to be frugal, especially for those who get full allotments for young children, they never eat that much. Teenagers yes but a newborn getting formula from WIC  or a two year old does not consume $150 a month in food stamp benefit.

    Food is expensive though.. I'm a great with coupons for health and beauty stuff but if you want fresh produce it is really high. For people who have to shop at just one store like Wal-mart or chain grocery store due to transportation it's much higher than if you can shop around or shop sales or go to a discount place that sells expired stuff.

    Offline Tiffany

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #3 on: November 13, 2013, 07:49:08 AM »
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  • What I hate about these articles is they ignore those who really suffer like those who cannot qualify for assistance. If you have food stamps you are basically given free money to buy anything classified as food, that is not suffering.

    Offline Dolores

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #4 on: November 13, 2013, 08:50:33 AM »
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  • We are a family of three; two adults and one baby.  We have a budget of $80 per week on groceries, or $320 per month.  We eat a good variety of food on this budget, but nothing fancy (e.g., steak or fresh seafood is a rare treat), and we always have something left over at the end of the week; in other words our shelves are never bare.  If a family of four, even four adults, cannot survive on a food budget of $800 per month, something is seriously wrong.  I suppose some adjustment must be made for cost of living (we live in a rural area, where COL is low), but there is no way that they spend more than twice what we do and still run out of food each week.


    Offline parentsfortruth

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 01:24:34 PM »
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  • Here's the really striking part of this article.

    Quote
    Last month, Sewell landed a job as an audio technician.
    The job paid $12 an hour, a lot less than the $25 he used to make before he was laid off.
    Sewell asked his employer to lower his wages to $9 an hour instead.
    Why? He did the math and found that $12 an hour was just enough to cause a reduction in his government benefits, and could cost him and his family its Medicaid coverage for health care.
    At the same time, the income from $12 an hour would not be enough to pay his bills, including the $900 a month he would have to pay for health insurance for his family.
    Sewell is hoping to find a job that pays enough to allow his family to get off government assistance.


    NO UPWARD MOBILITY. You either make juuuust a little more, and get SLAMMED, or you stay below the poverty line, and get help, which puts you in a better situation than making more.

    THIS IS THE DISTURBING PART of this article.
    Matthew 5:37

    But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.

    My Avatar is Fr. Hector Bolduc. He was a faithful parish priest in De Pere, WI,

    Offline Dolores

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 01:40:54 PM »
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  • Quote from: parentsfortruth
    Here's the really striking part of this article.

    Quote
    Last month, Sewell landed a job as an audio technician.
    The job paid $12 an hour, a lot less than the $25 he used to make before he was laid off.
    Sewell asked his employer to lower his wages to $9 an hour instead.
    Why? He did the math and found that $12 an hour was just enough to cause a reduction in his government benefits, and could cost him and his family its Medicaid coverage for health care.
    At the same time, the income from $12 an hour would not be enough to pay his bills, including the $900 a month he would have to pay for health insurance for his family.
    Sewell is hoping to find a job that pays enough to allow his family to get off government assistance.


    NO UPWARD MOBILITY. You either make juuuust a little more, and get SLAMMED, or you stay below the poverty line, and get help, which puts you in a better situation than making more.

    THIS IS THE DISTURBING PART of this article.


    That's the trouble with government benefits.  So many of them simply stop when your income hits an arbitrary threshold, despite the fact that your additional income isn't enough to replace all of the benefits that you are now not receiving.

    This could be reformed by decreasing benefits on a sliding scale as income rises, rather than stopping them all at once.  But then that removes the incentive to stay poor and be on the government dole, now doesn't it?

    Offline Dolores

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 02:01:50 PM »
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  • If we accept the fact of government welfare, rather than the poor being taken care of by the Church and other charities (which I think is a given, in the politics of today), I think a good idea would be to decrease government benefits in an amount less than an increase in wages.

    For example, if a poverty-stricken person earns only $5,000 per year receives a total of $20,000 in government benefits, and that person received a raise at work so that his salary is now $10,000, his governmental benefits shouldn't decrease by $5,000, but rather something less than that.  Say $2,500 (half) for the purposes of this example.  Before the raise, the man was getting a total of $25,000 from income and government benefits.  After the raise, the man is getting $27,500.  The government is paying less, but he is earning more.

    In a system like this, there is actually an incentive to apply oneself and earn a higher salary, rather than an incentive to stay poor so as not to lose government benefits.


    Offline parentsfortruth

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 04:04:04 PM »
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  • Quote from: Dolores
    Quote from: parentsfortruth
    Here's the really striking part of this article.

    Quote
    Last month, Sewell landed a job as an audio technician.
    The job paid $12 an hour, a lot less than the $25 he used to make before he was laid off.
    Sewell asked his employer to lower his wages to $9 an hour instead.
    Why? He did the math and found that $12 an hour was just enough to cause a reduction in his government benefits, and could cost him and his family its Medicaid coverage for health care.
    At the same time, the income from $12 an hour would not be enough to pay his bills, including the $900 a month he would have to pay for health insurance for his family.
    Sewell is hoping to find a job that pays enough to allow his family to get off government assistance.


    NO UPWARD MOBILITY. You either make juuuust a little more, and get SLAMMED, or you stay below the poverty line, and get help, which puts you in a better situation than making more.

    THIS IS THE DISTURBING PART of this article.


    That's the trouble with government benefits.  So many of them simply stop when your income hits an arbitrary threshold, despite the fact that your additional income isn't enough to replace all of the benefits that you are now not receiving.

    This could be reformed by decreasing benefits on a sliding scale as income rises, rather than stopping them all at once.  But then that removes the incentive to stay poor and be on the government dole, now doesn't it?


    Yup, and these people that "do the math" are insulted and berated for getting benefits in the first place. Who, in this kind of situation, would take that kind of a hit? This guy was SMART. He would have been in an even WORSE situation making a little more money, than he is just asking for $9 an hour!
    Matthew 5:37

    But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.

    My Avatar is Fr. Hector Bolduc. He was a faithful parish priest in De Pere, WI,

    Offline MaterDominici

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 04:31:41 PM »
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  • Quote from: parentsfortruth
    Yup, and these people that "do the math" are insulted and berated for getting benefits in the first place. Who, in this kind of situation, would take that kind of a hit? This guy was SMART. He would have been in an even WORSE situation making a little more money, than he is just asking for $9 an hour!


    Apparently, "making more money = bad idea" is common sense, but the ability to feed three people on $500/month takes extreme amounts of intelligence.
    "I think that Catholicism, that's as sane as people can get."  - Jordan Peterson

    Offline parentsfortruth

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 04:49:11 PM »
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  • Quote from: MaterDominici
    Quote from: parentsfortruth
    Yup, and these people that "do the math" are insulted and berated for getting benefits in the first place. Who, in this kind of situation, would take that kind of a hit? This guy was SMART. He would have been in an even WORSE situation making a little more money, than he is just asking for $9 an hour!


    Apparently, "making more money = bad idea" is common sense, but the ability to feed three people on $500/month takes extreme amounts of intelligence.


    Yes, it's warped. People shouldn't have to make that kind of decision. What kind of food can people buy and feed their families on with about that much? You'd have to be really thrifty to buy organic on that.
    Matthew 5:37

    But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.

    My Avatar is Fr. Hector Bolduc. He was a faithful parish priest in De Pere, WI,


    Offline MaterDominici

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 05:20:06 PM »
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  • Quote from: parentsfortruth
    Yes, it's warped. People shouldn't have to make that kind of decision. What kind of food can people buy and feed their families on with about that much? You'd have to be really thrifty to buy organic on that.


    That's true. But, as sad as it is, organic items are still specialty priced and people who depend on the government for food just aren't going to be able to afford that. But, there's a big gap between saying you can only afford rice, beans, and pasta vs. saying you can't afford organic.

    Organic does seem to be getting more and more obtainable, though. We don't buy organic exclusively, but there are some items that are not all that much more than the non-organic alternative.
    "I think that Catholicism, that's as sane as people can get."  - Jordan Peterson

    Offline parentsfortruth

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #12 on: November 13, 2013, 05:48:47 PM »
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  • Quote from: MaterDominici
    Quote from: parentsfortruth
    Yes, it's warped. People shouldn't have to make that kind of decision. What kind of food can people buy and feed their families on with about that much? You'd have to be really thrifty to buy organic on that.


    That's true. But, as sad as it is, organic items are still specialty priced and people who depend on the government for food just aren't going to be able to afford that. But, there's a big gap between saying you can only afford rice, beans, and pasta vs. saying you can't afford organic.

    Organic does seem to be getting more and more obtainable, though. We don't buy organic exclusively, but there are some items that are not all that much more than the non-organic alternative.


    A good website to peruse, is the Cornucopia website. The reason organic is becoming "more obtainable" is not because it's getting any cheaper to produce. It's because the standards are being lowered, and the companies that used to own the organics were small, but are now the same megaliths selling us the GMO crap. These companies are trying to push organics out of existence, while trying to get a premium price for something that's really no longer organic.

    http://www.cornucopia.org/



    A bigger picture can be obtained on the front page of that website by clicking, "Who owns organic?" on the right hand side of the page.
    Matthew 5:37

    But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.

    My Avatar is Fr. Hector Bolduc. He was a faithful parish priest in De Pere, WI,

    Offline Frances

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #13 on: November 13, 2013, 06:17:11 PM »
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  • A young family in USA is in a similar predicament.  The father's employer cut him to 29 hours from 40 hours and health insurance.  They are expecting baby #5 in January.  If Dad takes an extra job, they no longer qualify for health insurance.  But they can't live on less and meet their mortgage.  The financial planner's advice was for the mother to go back to work as soon as the baby is born.  They will then be eligible for govt. assistance with day care and after-school care, food stamps, and health insurance.  This will mean that Mom works full-time at a minimum wage job while dad stays home halftime to homeschool the older of the two children.  Or they can put the children in public school.  They've decided to sell the house and live, rent free, in a one-bedroom trailer house on an aunt's property rather than hand over control of their lives to the government.
     St. Francis Xavier threw a Crucifix into the sea, at once calming the waves.  Upon reaching the shore, the Crucifix was returned to him by a crab with a curious cross pattern on its shell.  

    Offline MaterDominici

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    Food Stamps reductions hitting people
    « Reply #14 on: November 13, 2013, 09:47:05 PM »
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  • Quote from: parentsfortruth
    The reason organic is becoming "more obtainable" is not because it's getting any cheaper to produce. It's because the standards are being lowered, and the companies that used to own the organics were small, but are now the same megaliths selling us the GMO crap. These companies are trying to push organics out of existence, while trying to get a premium price for something that's really no longer organic.


    I've heard something like this before, but don't know much about it. Aren't there standards for when you can call your product "organic"?
    "I think that Catholicism, that's as sane as people can get."  - Jordan Peterson


     

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