Should you be able to get Food Stamps if … ?




The Food Stamp program has other names – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the federal level and CalFRESH in California are two that come to mind. Whatever the name, this is a federal program that is means tested and guarantees grocery retailers and their suppliers an ongoing stream of business. This federal program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture and in California by the California Department of Social Services. California’s’ 58 counties are the ones taking application and dispensing benefits to those deemed eligible, following rules set by the State and Federal Governments. County Boards of Supervisors have no authority to tinker with eligibility rules.

According to published news reports, the number of people in the U.S. receiving Food Stamps is now about 45 million, or about 15% of the U.S. population. This is nearly double the number just a year ago. It appears that the reason for this growth is the overall state of the economy and a continuous push from Washington for the States to outreach to encourage people to apply.

Like most Federal assistance programs, a person has to meet asset and income tests to receive Food Stamp assistance, and must be a citizen or in this country legally. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible, but their U. S. born children are if the family meets the income and asset test requirements.

With 45 million in the USA receiving Food Stamp assistance, one might wonder just how poor and desperate a person should have to be to qualify for Food Stamps. So, let’s talk about just that. Here are some questions to pique some discussion:

• Should someone with an auto newer than say 3 years, or even 5 years, be able to receive Food Stamps if they otherwise meet the income and asset test criteria?
• How about if the applicant owns a cell phone? If they have a subscription that also covers texting?
• How about if they own a flat screen TV? Or several?
• How about if they have equity in real estate, such as a home?
• What if they have jewelry, like a wedding ring, that could be pawned or sold?
• Should an adult receiving Food Stamps be required to work, even if it is just raking leaves in the city park?
• Should people be permitted to “spend” their Food Stamps in restaurants rather than in grocery stores?

These questions get at the issue of whether or not our poor who seek taxpayer assistance to feed themselves and their children are truly poor enough to deserve that help. What say you?

About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.