Skip to comments.Report questions food stamp program's effectiveness
Posted on 01/17/2013 8:11:35 PM PST by upchuck
A report by a panel of experts released on Thursday questioned whether the federal government's food stamp program adequately provides for healthy diets for the more than 47 million low-income people who rely on the benefit.
The report ... found that the aid for families to pay for groceries, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, does not account for many barriers to finding affordable, nutritious food by inner-city shoppers.
The U.S. Agriculture Department, which administers the aid program, sought the report to help it determine the best way to assess whether food stamps benefits are adequate for recipients to have access to a healthy diet.
"We will thoroughly review the analysis and recommendations contained in this report and use them to help set our agenda for future program research," USDA said in a statement.
During and following the 2007-2009 recession, demand for food stamps soared, with middle-class families who found themselves suddenly homeless and jobless pushing enrollment to a record 47.7 million people by September 2012. Even during the recovery, demand has remained high and food pantries and soup kitchens continue to feel the strain.
But the program rankles many, especially some Republicans, who see it as a bloated government handout. Fraud concerns are also an ongoing issue.
The report also questioned formulas used to determine how much each family receives. USDA assumes families will spend 30 percent of their incomes on food, when in fact most can afford to spend only 13 percent given rising costs for housing and healthcare, it said.
That means that as the families' incomes rise, the government reduces their benefits too sharply, the report found.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
Whether or not they are eating a healthy diet has nothing to do with what they buy at the grocery store. I see an awful lot of junk food. Potato chips, TV diners, candy, five gallon tubs of ice cream, etc.
Interesting: I don't see near this same level of concern for Seniors on a fixed income.
Allow me to add something very significant:
A report by a panel of experts released on Thursday questioned whether the federal government's food stamp program adequately provides for healthy diets for the more than 47 million low-income people who rely on the unearned
Many of those we see can’t speak intelligible English but they sure know how to use those EBT cards.
Bro an’ Laqueesha be needin’ mo’ shit....give it up, whitey, yo rich muhf***ahs.
I think it is high time these folks learn to garden and to raise animals- besides themselves.
One of the most common complaints heard from welfare recipients when they are told how much they’ll be receiving is, “How does the government expect me to live off that?”
Yup—send more $$ so they can buy healthy food. Of course, they won’t use the $$ for that. Booze, cigarettes and drugs is more likely.
Lest those unfamiliar with the habitat of the Urban Feral misunderstand, the deplorable and dangerous conditions in Urban Feral habitats are the result of their violent and criminal behavior. Yes, food markets in such areas ARE fewer, costlier, and less pleasant places in which to shop - Because The Natives Steal! ! !
Urban Feral theft is so pervasive that costs are driven up while profits decline or vanish. Many merchants won't put up with such abusive customers.
A business is not a charity, though I should inform those unfamiliar with the negative effects of Urban Feral populations, that even churches, not just businesses, have to armor up or be stolen blind and/or burned out.
My kid worked in a grocery store. He could spot an EBT customer a mile away....based on cart contents. Soda pop, candy, and ho ho’s. I’m sure some people are genuinely in trouble....but for alot its a lifestyle choice.
Can someone please explain to me why they give food stamps to fat people?
THAT’S A GOOD ONE. WHAT IF WE ONLY GAVE THEM BEANS AND RICE? We could not be accused of starving them and I guarantee they would lose weight.
No kidding. Our church is asking its members to "sponsor" low-income children from a nearby public elementary school. According to the pitch, these children will not have any healthy snacks during the weekends when they are not at school. Supposedly $20 per month will provide the child with the extra food they need during the weekends.
I would like to know how the food stamp benefits are calculated. If a child is getting free breakfast and lunch each day at school, shouldn't that be deducted from the family allotment?
I am naive about this, I realize.
With all due respect, if I was a member of your church I'd refuse to help.
I'm a triage interviewer at a food/clothing bank in Aiken County, SC. I interview folks on food stamps every week.
We'll give them seven days of food for the entire family every six weeks. Wholesome, nutritious food. No junk.
I have a sheet showing soup kitchens and other places to get free meals. If you wanted to, and had transportation, you could eat three hot meals a day indefinitely. These people DO NOT need more. If anything, they need less.
Just my personal opinion, but I don't think a single mother and two kids, ages 8 and 13, need $647/month in food stamps. That's typical. Especially when I can look at their food stamp history and see they were getting $550 a year ago.
So not only has the food stamp program exploded in the last couple of years with more takers, the amount they are taking has also exploded.
Meanwhile, Seniors trying to get by on a fixed income get a measly 1.3% increase in their Social Security for 2013.
These crap sandwich experts say we are not giving the lay about poor enough free food and not enough lobster, arugula and caviar.
B.S. I say. The Food Stamp program is an alternate currency in the ‘hood for cigarets, booze and drugs more than a nutrition program. Cut back the program and make the income standards a lot lower so not so many qualify.
What, isn’t there any nutritional value in steak and lobster?
Seriously, what does 7-11 sell that's healthy? I guess the over-ripe bananas by the cash register, or the "works bar" by the nachos.
time for govt to give these people better nutrition..they need lessons on buying and cooking healthy food and ebt can only be used at soup kitchens that they have to stand in line for food and sit through lectures on healty nutrition and becoming self sufficient...workfare-to get benefits they must do x number of hours community service like at soup kitchen
And I know people who receive food stamps who do buy healthy foods and plan their meals. Some of you here are very judgmental of a few who take advantage of the system. There may come a day when you will need assistance, so get over your holier-than-thou attitudes. I’m not defending those who are takers, but those who genuinely need the help and who do buy foods other than junk.
Many could save by cutting coupons and stretching their food stamp dollars. Also by spreading out their purchases during the month. A lot of recipients spend the majority of their allotment when they get their benefits at the first of the month. That’s when the grocery stores jack up the prices too. Consequently, they run out of food stamps before the month is over and end up going to food pantries to supplement. I’m not against what they buy because it isn’t my place to be a food police officer. I’d rather help Americans who need help than spend our tax dollars in Egypt or Libya or whereever the heck our government spends our money. I’d like to hear more outrage from this than people who genuinely need assistance to eat.
Are there those who milk the system? Absolutely, but I really don’t believe they are in the majority as some on here contend.
From reading these comments here, I guess I’m glad that those who need help get food stamps. Because they would starve to death if they had to depend on the “generosity” of those on this forum.
Okay, you can disagree and that’s your privilege. However, I disagree with the holier-than-thou group on here who are just as bad as the libs with their know-it-all attitudes.
Have you ever eaten at a soup kitchen? I have when I did my internship for my college degree. The food is crappy, for the most part and the smells are horrible. (from those who eat there). However, it does provide melas for those who need it.
The only reason such private charity is better than gubmint redistribution, economically speaking, is that it’s on a smaller scale.
My opinion is that the gov should go back to giving out surplus foods i.e. commodities. We used to get these when I was a teenager. Butter, peanut butter, cracked wheat flour, benas and rice, dried milk and eggs, canned meats. We ate well but then my mother knew how to cook.
A lot of that food stamp money is wasted on junk food and prepared food even if they are spent at the grocery store and not the strip club.
Great post! My mom, 76, lives in NC & just retired in December. And these leeches contribute nothing. It just makes me sick. She lives on a very fixed income. A trip to Subway is a rare treat because she is careful w/ her money.
I despise leeches who live off of hard working people who contribute to their communities and are good people. And guess what, I see NO end in sight to this problem.
Absolutely, but I really dont believe they are in the majority as some on here contend....You better start believing. The people you know must be the exception, NOT the rule. Just yesterday my girlfriend was stopped in the parking lot of a grocery store and was offered a SNAP card worth(supposedly) $550 if she would give the dude $100. It probably was already used to get smokes, liquor and sold food.
Quit giving them money! Park a block of surplus cheese the size of a house in the center of every “urban center” (not what my Daddy called that part of town) and let them take all they need.
Interesting concept. An interesting exercise would be to calculate how many would be injured and actually die before it was all carried away
Would lactose intolerance influence the numbers?
Would be offset by how many didn’t OD or die getting their $200 shoes stolen. And besides..... F ‘em.
Agreed. Our family is not signing on to help with this one.
We have seen our church's "helping hands" ministry explode over the last 3 years. No one questions the folks who show up in late model cars with nice cell phones, asking for free food and clothes.
Mar and myself (Dav) were on WIC for a brief spell and what that program did was provide coupons for specific items to feed our toddler (milk, juice, peanut butter, cheese). It was a weird melange of items and there was no way our child was going to down the amount of milk they provided us with). We ended up giving some to a friend who was trying to make ends meet.
A couple of points about this: First, these programs are random, haphazard, not targeted. We were given coupons for something like 8 gallons of milk to help us through a period of 1 month. We had one toddler. If that child had consumed all the milk “provided”, she would likely have gone through puberty at the age of 6 (given all the hormones in cows these days.)
Second, while using a shot-gun approach to the problem, identifying specific items is the way to go here. We couldn’t buy anything with those coupons except the items specified. This is what needs to be done with EBT. If you ring up an item that is not on an approved list, it will not deduct from your EBT account and the cashier will announce, “That’s 57.80 [for the non-EBT items—maybe applying just the right touch of wake-up and shame at check-out].”
I know, this is more government, but it moves us in the direction of reducing waste/abuse. Perhaps each state can create their own lists via ballot initiatives, careful to include locally produced products (oranges in Florida, tomatoes in New Jersey, road kill from West Virginia — JUST kidding).
Pardon my french....but you sound like a liberal.
Do you realy think I am disenchanted with the EBT system because I am heartless, and have no ‘generosity’.
I hope you can understand that I am IN FAVOR of a SAFETY NET....if for no other reason that, in the current economy, I might eventually need to use it. But, people who abuse the system consume the safety net, and hurt truly needy people.
Now I mentioned anectdotally that my kid can spot an EBT cartload of groceries. When he worked at this grocery store, he was evaluated on checkout speed...and he absolutely HATED to check out these carts. Why? Invariably people would try and buy non food items...and beg and ask to see a manager, and say ‘just this once’. And when that didn’t work, they’d hold up the line to go back in the store and get another bottle of soda pop.
I questioned my son - was this just a few bad apples? No! He said it was 95% of the EBT customers. And, for crying out loud, its a HIGH END grocery store in the first place.
Now I mentioned in my post that I’m sure there were some people who genuinely need assistance (the old Dennis Miller help the helpless but not the clueless point of view). Keeping that in mind, ponder the fact that the state treasurer ran a simple computer cross reference of EBT holders in Kansas - and came up with 10% fraud. 10% either had duplicate benefits, had an out of state address, came up as deceased, whatever. This wasn’t an in depth check...just a very cursory comparison of databases...and it was 10% fraud right of the top.
Now being the heartless bastard I am, I think ‘hey, we could INCREASE the EBT benefit to people who truly NEED it’, just by stopping the OBVIOUS fraud. But we can’t. People (like you) vilified the Treasurer and the governor for even suggesting it, called them heartless, racist, non-christian...the same tired set of insults.
So, the state has does NOTHING. And, by my calculation, it has REDUCED what can be spared for the truly needy by at least 10%. So bleeding hearts HURT the needy. Because apparently its bad form to point out the obvious fraud and abuse of the system.
If I were on food stamps (and again that is always a possibility in this economy), I would be Top Ramen and PB&J, all the way.
So when my stepson sees people buying pop and candy, I simultaneously get pissed off, and deeply saddened that in this nation people are literally too ignorant to prepare their own food.
Finally, for context. If you took a poll of all of us ‘holier than thou’ jerks on this thread, I bet you would find that the majority of us have indeed been truly poor and food insecure at some point in our lives. That’s precisely why its so abhorrent to us that people abuse the system.
If you attempt to use an EBT card in a grocery and have bought non-EBT items, cleaning supplies as an example, an error is generated when you swipe the EBT card.
I have seen this happen. The cashier has to void the entire order. The customer has to swipe the card and then the cashier reswipes all the items looking for the non-EBT ones. Real pain in the ass.
I’m definitely NOT a liberal and I agree that there are many abuses of the system. Name me one area where there isn’t abuse or fraud. I don’t disagree with a safety net, nor do I disagree with what Florida recently passed - those receiving benefits must be tested for drug use. If found to be users, their benefits would be banned from receiving benefits for a year or until they undergo treatment. Those who fail a drug test the second time will be barred from receiving food stamps for 3 years. This sounds like a step in the right direction. However, I also wonder the ramifications for the children involved here. I don’t think there is an easy solution. I guess what will happen next is that those who lose their benefits will resort to stealing from grocery stores.
I also know that there are those who request duplicate cards, and that percentage seems to be high. I just don’t think any of the solutions offered on this forum are feasible - one poster said to place a block of cheese in the center of town and let the people have at it. How cruel and humiliating to those who really need help. Not to mention that the first comers wouldn’t leave anything for others. I know that person was trying to be cute, but it is degrading. Not once did I use the term racist - that is of your own imagination.
And while you say you would only eat Ramen noodles and PB&J if receiving food stamps - I seriously doubt that. How noble of you/s.
I don’t have the answers to the fraud that exists, and neither do you.
I am truly against the fraud that goes on, but I am not so sanctimonious as to lump all recipients in that category, as many on here have done. And while many do buy soda and candy, so what? Some people receiving food stamps are in this situation because of the economy and would probably rather be working after losing a well-paying job.
My mom used to say - never judge a person until you walk a mile in his shoes. You never know when you or a loved one will be in a position to need benefits. I’d rather help people out with tax money for food than it go to support some of the things our tax dollars now go toward - such as the Muslim Brotherhood. We have no say so over how our funds are spent, and I for one do not want to stand in front of the Lord one day and say I didn’t help out the poor. I do help those in need, but can’t help everyone, AND NEITHER CAN YOU.
I’m quite aware that people sell their cards for cash. But, I also doubt it is the majority of cases. And, I also doubt that the people I know are the exception. I tend to think that those who abuse the system are the exception. Many use their cards responsibly and yes, I have witnessed it, and yes I have also witnessed those trying to sell their cards, but they are in the minority. I’ve worked with many low income families, so I know what I’m talking about.
Actually you nailed it as they are mostly very, very, large people.
We are in the bread(EBT) and circuses(NFL) phase of the demise of the republic. We are Rome.
You nailed it!
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