Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

FOOD STAMPS: Regularly review recipients

Letter by Colin Guthrie, Puyallup on June 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm with 43 Comments »
June 27, 2012 12:58 pm

While I feel having free lunch and food stamp programs is a needed service, I can’t help but notice viewpoints of people claiming that the programs are misused by recipients having Cadillacs, expensive clothing, jewelry and unnecessary items, which may include TVs, cars and other “luxuries.” A common theme is all the recipients buy is junk food.

To avert people buying junk food, the USDA can use a WIC formula, where certain foods are allowed and not foods the USDA deems as unhealthy.

To avoid misuse of eligibility the program should look at records in employment, housing agreements, Department of Licensing and other agencies to regularly review what the recipients and whoever lives with them have in resources and actual costs of housing, utilities and other necessary items. Requiring non-custodial parent to pay the state while the family receives benefits may be necessary.

Tags:
Leave a comment Comments → 43
  1. surething says:

    If only this would happen………..

  2. truthbusterguy says:

    Want to solve the food stamp problem. Make them do 10 hrs. of work per week. Roles will reduce overnight.

    What is so wrong about asked them to work 10 hours a week?

  3. sumyungboi says:

    Bread, milk, frozen vegetables, chicken fryers, and cooking oil for anyone who is otherwise capable of work. It should not be comfortable to live at other people’s expense.

  4. PumainTacoma says:

    WIC is the only solution. Unless as they use to sell meat at a tavern for cash to buy drugs. Happens all the time.

    But remember if the government can tell you to buy healthcare insurance and broccoli they can tell you what to eat.

    Enjoy, this is your liberal Obama presidency.

  5. cclngthr says:

    PumainTacoma,
    That is what I suggested. WIC only allows acceptable foods that are deemed healthy, and require actual cooking to prepare. Foods as boxed hamburger helper, TV dinners, processed foods and sugary foods would be banned.

    Of course, some commenters say people using EBT benefits should never have cars, TV’s and other normal items everyone else has.

  6. LeePHill says:

    I love Truthbuster’s idea of “work for food”. I think that used to happen in the United States. It was called “slavery”

  7. tree_guy says:

    The work for food idea used to be called slavery?

    I thought we called it the Civilian Conservation Corp. (CCC)

  8. What a ridiculous comment. Slavery? Doesn’t everyone not receiving govt handouts work for their food, shelter, etc? The irony is only those on handout do NOT work or their food.

  9. sumyungboi says:

    Slavery? That’s one of the dumbest comments I’ve ever read here. Everyone works for food. That is, unless they’re on food stamps solely.

  10. took14theteam says:

    Um, consider the source for the slavery comment, and you will have your answer as to why it was posted….

  11. m9078jk3 says:

    They already review food benefit clients every year for eligibility for resources,assets and income and these must be verified too.No proof (valid documents that can be checked with government records) of verification equals no benefits.Even automobiles must be documented and verified as an asset.When one sells the car DSHS has to be notified of a change.

  12. cclngthr says:

    m9078jk3,
    The verification does not happen. What is stated on the application is not exactly verified through additional paperwork signed by landlords, verification of assets through IRS, employment security, drivers license records, vehicle license records, verification of leasees on rental agreements etc.

    What I meant by re-evaluating eligibility, DSHS at each and every review must have signed paperwork from landlords, license documents through DOL, IRS/employment security, all government agencies, and bank records.

    HUD Housing at all annual reviews, recipients get a 1 inch stack of forms they must sign and the evaluator then sends those forms to all state/federal agencies, and bank records.

    DSHS only has a 4 page application. That application does not include requirements for cars, work, healthcare expenses nor does it require a verification form signed by the landlord stating rent amount and who lives in the house.

  13. surething says:

    “It was called “slavery”. WTF?

    Then I guess everyone who works to pay taxes are slaves to welfare recipients? Pull your head out.

  14. m9078jk3 says:

    Obviously you never had to apply for food stamps before(now EBT food program).Well I have collected in the past as a client.
    One does have to have photocopies (or the original documents) for rental receipts (or contracts (payments) or mortgage payments),copies of the most recent monthly bank records (checking and/or savings account),photocopied records of stocks,bonds,IRA’s,other real estate property holdings,recent vehicle registration, unemployment benefits or paycheck receipts (if employed)or SS or SSI benefit income as well as other retirement incomes or pensions.One has to have documentation for identity (birth certificate and/or drivers licence or identity card) and have a valid address.For a personal house and property (asset) the property tax statement needs to be included as well.In addition utility statements must be shown (photocopied)in addition to a land-line telephone bill.

    Changes of resources,income,circumstance etc and DSHS has to be notified.One has to sign this under threat of felony perjury too.
    This is done yearly for application or reapplication.

    As to who may live in the household one could lie (get money under the table from a roommate) however lying on a application would if discovered terminate benefits and so would omission of records to lie (attempt to hide assets) on an application.However cash on hand (in ones wallet) could easily be concealed.In fact there are instances of people committing fraud and these people when discovered are many times criminally charged (even incarcerated for felony fraud) and ordered to pay back any benefits collected.Those whom are honest don’t have any worries however and it’s in the benefit to apply.

    Food benefits can even be used to purchase food bearing plants for a home garden like fruit and nut trees,tomato plants etc.

    Healthcare expenses would be covered under the medical aid program.

  15. Wow… work for food. What a concept.

    Hey… do you think “work” would pay any other personal expenses?

  16. cclngthr says:

    m9078jk3,
    Try me.. I get SSDI and have access to such programs because of a disability in addition to assisting others in getting such programs.

    Caseworkers never require documents at each review. They don’t require a signed form a landlord must sign and document who lives at the household and rent amount each time/b> a review is done. Nor does a caseworker verify DOL records of all household members and what kind of vehicle they own. Nor do they look up on IRS/employment security of ALL people living in that household to veryify who gets what in income.

    Photocopies can be altered. ORIGINAL documents are never required.

    Caseworkers even recommend how to get more money by suggesting people do certain things.

  17. cclngthr says:

    I know people getting benefits who have a roomate that works, and they get the maximum allowable, because the roomate is not included; allowed because it is legal to have one person getting benefits for that simgle person, even though there are more than one person in that household.

    I think, in the above situation where that one person is applying for benefits for him/herself, and there is a second person living in that household; that second person MUST be included in the financial review and be included to determine if the person applying for benefits qualifies.

    If person A, who is not employed and is not receiving unemployment applies for benefits and receives $150 in food stamps for that person only, because she/he cooks separately; and person B has a full time job and earns $18.00 an hour, it should be that the income from person B is determining if person A qualifies for any benefit even if person A does not currently work.

  18. GEMINI612 says:

    In the early ’80s, as a single mother of 2, I was one of the working poor. Junk food was a luxury. When I could scrape together an extra fifty cents, I would take the kids out for a real treat: an ice cream cone at McDonalds. Otherwise,I made pots of soups, stews and casseroles, bought bread at the bakery outlet for packed lunches. Since when is it a necessity to have expensive, non-essential food items? I don’t begrudge anyone getting foodstamps temporarily when they’ve hit hard times. That’s what it’s for. However, In hard times, the first things that have to go are the luxuries… junk food included. It’s never more expensive to cook fresh food. If you aren’t working, there’s no excuse for not being able to cook. People everywhere manage to do it every day… even after being at work all day. No car to get to the grocery store? What’s wrong with walking or taking a bus? We’ve become such an entitlement society. Whatever happened to good old fashioned pride?? There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pay for those giveaways!

  19. lylelaws says:

    How about a little common sense here?

    In the richest country in the world should people do without enough food? Of course not.

    Should food stamp recipients be able to purchase unhealthy sugary, sodas,candy,junk food,crab legs, fillet minion,lobster tails and a host of other items that already strapped taxpayers can’t afford for their own families but are working and paying for? Of course not.

  20. lylelaws says:

    It is really pathetic that LeePHill so often tries to brand others who do not agree with him as racists of some sort.

  21. cclngthr says:

    Another situation common among people on benefits is a mother and her child living with another (3rd) person who works. It is legal for that mother and her child to receive benefits for the 2 of them and not include the 3rd person’s financial situation in determining if the household qualifies for benefits.

    I also have came across families who were on TANF and the male returns to work (married here) while the mother and children continue to receive food benefits and medical even though the father has benefits from the job.

    If these situations exist, ANY income from any person should be included in determining if that household qualifies for any benefit, even if the adults are not family members and not married. If 2 people agree to live together, they agree to share expenses, and if one person ends up with no income, or little income, that person with the income should be required to pick up the slack from that person without income. If, by chance the person has expenses that are high enough not to pay for the full amount of housing/food, some of those expenses, like car payments and other financial debts should be automatically be in default while that one person with no income applies for benefits. Therefore, that car payment should automatically go for shelter/food costs for all of the household members.

  22. cclngthr says:

    GEMINI612,

    There are commenters here on the same subject that have stated people on food benefits should forfeit their right to own a car while on benefits to afford the food.

    That same commenter also has stated that all food benefit recipients also do not need any TV in the household to avoid costs associated with cable TV.

  23. Mr, Guthrie how is it that you don’t know that you live in the sympathy state. Everyone needs to stop wasting their breath complaining about food stamp fraud. I called my state rep 4 years ago to complain about a person who used their EBT card to by cigarettes and mocha. A employee from their office called me and stated that their suppose to only buy nutritious items,and they stated that the blame for them allowing them to buy item such cigarette & Alcohol fell on the ACLU & the local DSHS office.. One day I took the time to see online if their are restriction for using the EBT card . The only thing that the EBT card can not be used for is buy lottery tickets and they still do because they can with draw cash and use it to do so. Also the media doesn’t touch they subject unless they want too.

    Also unfortunately every major Grocery store permits them to abuse them. What you can do is stop going the other business that allow them to abuse them. Like Popa Murphy,gas station that a owned by franchisee. I for buy my gas and snack from Chevron because everyone I been to don’t accept them.

  24. cclngthr says:

    TOOCAN,
    Legally, foods that are uncooked and unprepared can be bought with SNAP benefits. How Papa Murphy’s got around the regulations is by only selling uncooked products and products that are currently allowed under the SNAP benefits. Since the pizzas from Papa Murphy’s are uncooked, they can be sold with food benefits.

    Soda and all other uncooked foods are eligible to be purchased with food benefits. Cooked and prepared foods from the deli cannot be bought with food benefits. That is within the food benefit regulations.

    The only way to prevent people from buying foods that are unhealthy is to have preauthorization from the program to buy food. Each item bought (under this form) must be approved and authorized by the USDA. This is very similar to the WIC program.

  25. The whole program is sickening. Why are we giving people cash? If you smoke you should lose all benefits. Receiving benefits and caught with alcohol? Kicked off the rolls. It is some citizen’s money you are spending! Liberal, emotion based policy hurting the working taxpayer and enabling the freeloader. Disgusting.

    Even worse is the reaction from people if reform is even discussed.

  26. Also, should take a drug test. Postive for drugs, no food stamps. Positive for nicotine, no food stamps. Positive for alcohol, no food stamps. These are all luxuries that need to be stopped while my tax dollars are buying there food.

  27. cclngthr says:

    jrdndd,
    In order to keep people off drugs, alcohol and other substances, you have to regularly test their blood and have the testing unannounced and at random. There are ways to get around drug screenings and it is easy to do that.

    I also think (as for screenings), all recipients must have a full physical and mental examination prior to receive benefits and if things show up as unhealthy, or needing medical attention, in order to receive benefits, they must comply with the medical professional in order to receive benefits.

    A lot of drug addicts have undiagnosed mental health issues and self medicate using the drugs. Bipolar and other mental illnesses are often undiagnosed and untreated.

  28. Sometimes people are disabled and poor.
    When will Dachau come to our backdoor?

  29. cclngthr? Your suggestion that other debts and car payments should be dissolved/default before someone receives food stamp benefits? Nice. Then someone has to basically default on their student loans for instance and lose their transportation to their job before they can be deemed worthy of receiving food stamps? Doesn’t that make their situation worse? Now a person is at risk of losing their job or getting more affordable housing because they are required to crash their credit. You yourself stated that you are disabled and work as a sub but have to take the bus to the assignments which are often itinerant or you receive the call after you were supposed to be there. Wouldn’t your own situation be better if you had transportation? An employer will only tolerate transportation tardies so long. While the idea is to limit “luxuries”, common sense needs to prevail here.

  30. seand342 says:

    Drug testing DOES NOT work, already tried in florida and was a failure
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no-savings-found-in-florida-welfare-drug-tests.html?smid=pl-share

    And i love the references to luxuries. If you get food stamp you are not living lavishly. If you think buying junk food is luxurious, you have watched one too many commercials

  31. LeePHill says:

    “LeePHill says:
    June 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm I love Truthbuster’s idea of “work for food”. I think that used to happen in the United States. It was called “slavery”

    Let’s start with Lyle….

    “lylelaws says:
    June 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm It is really pathetic that LeePHill so often tries to brand others who do not agree with him as racists of some sort.”

    Lyle, either you think that this is another letter to the editor that you have scripted on a Friday or your reading is as ridiculous as your constant baseless assertions.

    Then there is tree_guy –

    “tree_guy says:
    June 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm The work for food idea used to be called slavery?
    I thought we called it the Civilian Conservation Corp. (CCC)”

    Since my Republican father participated in the CCC, I can tell you that it wasn’t work for food. Our family was raised on wages from this program for a short time.

    The rest of the comments were to be expected from people with limited knowledge of slavery and the unwillingness to think with an open mind.

    Slaves were required to work for food. Those that didn’t perform to standard (they might have been ill) were not provided meals and then came the beatings.

    Any of you that don’t know this little fact, could use the wealth of information sitting in front of you (computer/internet).

    Of course, anyone that bites on the “luxuries” bait is stupid enough to think that slaves were well fed and had choices.

  32. LeePHill says:

    Frida – when your job is outsourced to SE Asia and you have lost your home and are feeding your family on food stamps, then you will no longer have to make your car payments and you will know true freedom in the United States of America :::flag waving in background:::::

  33. SwordofPerseus says:

    Lee – Why you poking Frida?

  34. cclngthr says:

    Frida,
    People have said that recipients do not qualify for benefits based on their living situation; which I happen to agree, in part, with. If someone is living with someone else, and one person is receiving food stamps, while the other is not included in the financial review because they eat/cook separately; why can’t that one person, who has a job pick up the slack for the both of them. Current regulations allow exclusions in household size when financial reviews are done. If there are 3 paople, 2 unmarried adults and one child in the household, and the parent and child applies for food stamps and excludes the 3rd person, even though the 3rd person has a job, the financial review does not INCLUDE that 3rd person when it should include all people in the household in order to determine eligibility.

    Yes, I am disabled and sub, but I am able to have a car, so I don’t take the bus; however people have stated I should not drive at all because people assume I bleed off the welfare system.

  35. cclngthr says:

    Alinup,
    True, there are poor and disabled people. However, sometimes the poor and disabled should be required to work for benefits. Do they qualify? In my opinion, anyone who is not disabled should be required to work.

    Those who are disabled likely want to work, and also should contribute to the workforce. Those physically and mentally unable to work should be able to do so on a case by case basis.

  36. All of you have seen one time or other the sign that says “do not feed the animals because they will become dependant for food from people” Now, the people on food stamps aren’t animals, but the longer they are on the program the more dependant they became for it. So, maybe buy limiting junk food purchase’s from the food stamps, it might just give them a nudge they need to do something about thier situration if they want to continue to enjoy differant junk foods. If you start putting limits on any thing in life, it causes most people to try a differant way to cope. I was in Safeway and witness four cases of bottled water being purchased with food stamps. They must be very hungry. They were two woman together use “food” stamps for water? They must really need them>

  37. cclngthr says:

    mojo58,
    Bottled water is actually better than sugary soda. It is also better than tap water since bottled water is filtered and does not have floride/chlorine/mineral treatments that can be found in tap water.

    What people need to realize is (including those deciding who gets the benefit) if there is any income in the household, what is that money going for? Is it more important to spend money on a car payment or shelter/food costs; particularly if they are sharing expenses?

    People think it is OK to share housing because the costs are lower for the both of them, but they don’t figure on one of the people losing income. If one person loses the income, the other person should be required to pick up the slack, since in the household, when you pool expenses, you must include the income of all people in the household if federal/state benefits are considered.

  38. blakeshouse says:

    My wife works in a grocery store and sees the abuses on a daily basis. They come in and spend their stamps and wic program funds and then pay for the rest of their purchases by credit cards, up to gold cards. Even those busted for shoplifting are not penalized by withdraw of bennies. Also if it is a requirement of employment to be drug tested all recipients should be required at least twice a yr.

  39. BlaineCGarver says:

    Taxpayers are being taken for a long, expensive ride. If someone is cheating, it should be automatic banishment from The System.

  40. cclngthr says:

    blakeshouse,
    That is why I suggested in the letter that reviews must include all income from all people in the household, and serious questions on where that money goes.

    However, having said that; I don’t carry cash on me. All of my money is in a bank, and I use a debit/credit card that is linked to that bank account for all purchases. You, or your wife don’t know if that card being used is linked to a bank account or is a card that is linked to a account that funds are direct deposited into it.

    SSA now requires funds to be direct deposit, and if no bank account is available, a debit card is given to that person which benefits are deposited into it.

  41. LeePHill says:

    I guess I don’t have enough experience on food stamps. Why would it be an abuse for someone to spend their food stamp money and then pay the difference on a credit card? As long as the credit card is theirs and they pay their bill, I see nothing wrong, other than credit is a poor way to purchase food, but it might be the best they can do at the moment.

    Shoplifting is a crime, but it has nothing to do with food stamps. The two issues are mutually exclusive.

    I really don’t understand blakeshouse’s issue with drug testing by employers. Most do and those that don’t chose not to.

    Bottled water? If you have ever lived on a well, you’d understand why some people must purchase bottled water.

  42. LeePHill says:

    Sword – I wasn’t poking at Frida, I was using Frida’s comment and building a satirical comment. I should have put one of these ;) on my comment, I guess.

    Frida hit the nail on the head with her comment of 6:32 am

  43. cclngthr says:

    LeePHill,

    What Frida is not thinking about is when a household has one person working full time and the other person loses that job and applies for benefits, is it right to allow that one person who has a job be exempt from financial review of that household to get more benefits?

    People have to make hard choices here, and when requirements are that food and shelter costs come first, is that car payment, or student loan payment more important to that person working than putting food on the table and paying additional funds toward shelter costs to assist that person not working?

    Frida makes it appear she supports one person should be allowed to get a higher amount in benefits even though the other person has a job but also is making car payments. I think, if people apply for benefits, the condition should be that all people in that household should be included when calculations are made regarding the financial situation of the household and whether that one person not working should get benefits.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0