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Food Stamps in Review

  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. $78 billion out of $3.6 trillion spent in 2011 ($2.3 trillion collected in taxes)....GOOD PROGRAM OR CUT IT (select all that apply)

    • Cut it
      11
    • Not perfect but a good program overall
      8
    • That $78 billion could build another boat for our navy - What are we waiting for
      5
    • We gave $170 billion to AIG - WTF is $78 billion
      1
    • We spend $8 billion in Afghanistan per month and $6.5 billion on food stamps a month - CUT THE FOOD STAMPS NOWWWWW
      4


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What Is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) is the nation's most important anti-hunger program. In 2011, it helped almost 45 million low-income Americans to afford a nutritionally adequate diet in a typical month.

Nearly 75 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.

After unemployment insurance, SNAP is the most responsive federal program providing additional assistance during economic downturns. It also is an important nutritional support for low-wage working families and low-income seniors and people with disabilities with fixed incomes.

The federal government pays the full cost of SNAP benefits and splits the cost of administering the program with the states, which operate the program.

Who Is Eligible for SNAP?

Unlike most means-tested benefit programs, which are restricted to particular categories of low-income individuals, SNAP is broadly available to almost all households with low incomes. SNAP eligibility rules and benefit levels are, for the most part, uniform across the nation. Under federal rules, to qualify for SNAP benefits, a household must meet three criteria (although states have flexibility to adjust these limits):

  • Its total monthly income generally must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line, or $2,008 (about $24,100 a year) for a three-person family in fiscal year 2012. Households with an elderly or disabled member need not meet this limit.
  • Its monthly net income, or income after deductions are applied for items such as high housing costs and child care, must be less than or equal to the poverty line (about $18,500 a year or $1,545 a month for a three-person family in fiscal year 2012).
  • Its assets must fall below certain limits: households without an elderly or disabled member must have assets of $2,000 or less, and those with an elderly or disabled member must have assets of $3,000 or less.

Some categories of people are not eligible for SNAP regardless of how small their income or assets may be, such as strikers, most college students, and certain legal immigrants. Undocumented immigrants also are ineligible for SNAP. Most unemployed childless adults are limited to three months of benefits in many areas of the country, though this limit may be waived in areas of high unemployment. For more information, see A Quick Guide to Food Stamp Eligibility and Benefit Rules, at

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1269.



How Much Does SNAP Cost?

In fiscal year 2011, the federal government spent about $78 billion on SNAP. About 92 percent went directly to benefits that households used to purchase food. The remaining 8 percent was used primarily for state administrative costs, including eligibility determinations, employment and training and nutrition education for SNAP households, and anti-fraud activities.



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About $2.5 billion went for other food assistance programs, such as the block grant for food assistance in Puerto Rico and American Samoa, commodity purchases for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (which helps food pantries and soup kitchens across the country), and commodities for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

SNAP has experienced large but temporary growth in recent years. Caseloads have increased significantly since late 2007, as the recession and the lagging economic recovery dramatically increased the number of low-income households who qualify and apply for help. In addition, because of benefit increases that were part of the 2009 Recovery Act (discussed below), SNAP has delivered $26 billion in additional economic stimulus through fiscal year 2011. These changes are temporary, however, and SNAP spending is expected to fall to pre-recession levels as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) as the economy recovers and the Recovery Act provisions end. (See chart: "SNAP is Projected to Shrink as a Share of GDP.")



SNAPisProjected.jpg



Special Features of SNAP

While SNAP's fundamental purpose is to help low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities afford an adequate diet, it promotes other goals as well:

Protecting families from hardship and hunger

SNAP benefits are an entitlement, which means that anyone who qualifies under the program's rules can receive benefits. As a result, SNAP responds quickly and effectively to support low-income families and communities during times of economic downturn and increased need. Enrollment expands when the economy weakens and contracts when the economy recovers. (See chart: "SNAP Caseloads Closely Track Changes in Poverty.")

In this way, SNAP helps families to bridge temporary periods of unemployment or a family crisis. If a parent loses her job or has a job that pays low wages, SNAP can help her feed her children until she is able to improve her circumstances. More than half of all new entrants to SNAP in the mid-2000s participated for less than one year and then left the program when their immediate need had passed (USDA, "Dynamics of SNAP Participation in the Mid-2000s, September, 2011.)

Since December 2007, when the recession began, the number of people receiving SNAP has increased by almost 19 million (about 70 percent). In some of the states hit hardest by the economic downturn, caseloads have more than doubled. For example, in Nevada, Florida, Utah, and Idaho, where the number of unemployed has increased by almost 200 percent or more, the number of SNAP participants has increased by 130 to 170 percent.

Protecting the overall economy against risk

SNAP also protects the economy as a whole by helping maintain overall demand for food during slow economic periods. In fact, SNAP benefits

are one of the fastest, most effective forms of economic stimulus because they get money into the economy quickly. Moody's Analytics estimates that in a weak economy, every $1 increase in SNAP benefits generates $1.72 in economic activity. Similarly, the Congressional Budget Office rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy.

SNAPCloselyTracks.jpg

Lessening the extent and severity of poverty and unemployment

SNAP is heavily focused on the poor. Roughly 93 percent of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes below the poverty line, and 55 percent go to households with incomes below half of the poverty line (about $9,155 for a family of three). Also, as explained below, families with the greatest need receive the largest benefits.

These features make SNAP a powerful tool in fighting poverty. According to the Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure, which counts SNAP as income, SNAP kept more than 5 million people out of poverty in 2010. SNAP also lessens the severity of poverty for millions of others; if SNAP is counted as income, it lifted 2.4 million children above 75 percent of the poverty line in 2005, more than any other program.

With the deep and prolonged depression and weak recovery, SNAP has become increasingly valuable for the long-term unemployed. In 2010, according to the Joint Economic Committee, over 20 percent of those unemployed for more than six months received SNAP benefits, a higher rate than among other adults. SNAP is one of the few resources available for individuals who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Nearly 25 percent of households in which someone's unemployment benefits ended were enrolled in SNAP.

Supporting and encouraging work

Over the last two decades, large shares of SNAP households have become working households. In 2010 more than three times as many SNAP households worked as relied solely on welfare benefits for their income. (See chart: "Working Households Have Risen.") Nearly half of all SNAP households with children have earned income.

WorkingHouseholds.jpg



Despite sharply higher unemployment, the share of SNAP families with children that have earnings has remained stable during the recession. SNAP benefits help these low-wage working families make ends meet. For a family of three with one wage-earner who works at $10 an hour, SNAP increases the family's take-home income by roughly 20 to 50 percent, depending on the number of hours worked. (See chart: "SNAP Can Dramatically Boost Income.")

SNAPBoost.jpg



In addition, the SNAP benefit formula contains an important work incentive. For every additional dollar a SNAP recipient earns, her benefits decline by only 24 to 36 cents — much less than in most other programs. Families that receive SNAP thus have a strong incentive to work longer hours or to search for better-paying employment. States further support work through the SNAP Employment and Training program, which funds training and work activities for unemployed adults who receive SNAP.

Responding quickly to disasters

States can provide emergency SNAP within a matter of days to help disaster victims purchase food. After the hurricanes of 2005, for example, SNAP provided more than 2 million households with almost $1 billion in food assistance. In 2011, SNAP responded to two major sets of disasters: the spring floods and tornados (primarily in the Southeast and Midwest), and in the fall, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee (in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.)

Supporting healthy eating

SNAP enables low-income households to afford more healthy foods. Because they can be spent only on food, SNAP benefits raise families' food purchases more than an equivalent amount of cash assistance would. Fruits and vegetables, grain products, meats, and dairy products comprise almost 90 percent of the food that SNAP households buy. In addition, all states operate SNAP nutrition education programs to help participants make healthy food choices. Recent research finds that the nationwide expansion of SNAP in the 1960s reduced the incidence of low birth weight and modestly improved infant mortality.

How Effective and Efficient Is SNAP?

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SNAP and other nutrition programs have helped make severe hunger in America rare. Before the late 1960s, when the federal government began providing nutrition assistance, hunger and severe malnutrition could be found in many low-income communities in the United States. Today, in large part because of these programs, such severe conditions are no longer found in large numbers.

To promote efficiency, SNAP has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program. Its error rates stand at record lows; fewer than 2 percent of SNAP benefits are issued to households that do not meet all of the program's eligibility requirements.

At the same time, SNAP reaches a large share of eligible households. Almost three-quarters of individuals who qualified for SNAP benefits received them in fiscal year 2009. This represents an all-time high and shows significant improvement from 2001, when the participation rate bottomed out at 54 percent.

SNAP participation among some groups remains disappointing, however. Just 34 percent of eligible seniors and 60 percent of eligible individuals in working families receive SNAP. In addition, many low-income households that receive benefits still have trouble affording an adequate diet — especially in years when food prices are rising quickly.

Many families face stark choices between purchasing food and paying for rent and other necessities. If they manage this shortfall by buying less-nutritious foods, it can adversely affect their health: many low-cost, energy-dense foods that contribute to obesity are cheaper than nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables.

For more information, see "SNAP is Effective and Efficient" at http://www.cbpp.org/...fa=view&id=3239.

How Do People Apply for SNAP?

Each state designs its own SNAP application process, following federal guidelines. In most states, households apply in person at the welfare office, though they can also mail or fax their applications, and many states are developing online applications. Applicants must participate in an eligibility interview, which is typically in-person but can be on the phone, and must document numerous aspects of their eligibility, including their identity, residency, immigration status, household composition, income and resources, and deductible expenses.

Households found to be eligible receive an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card, which is loaded with benefits once a month. Household members may use it to purchase food at one of the over 200,000 retailers authorized to participate in the program. Almost 85 percent of benefits are redeemed at supermarkets or superstores like WalMart. SNAPcannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, vitamin supplements, non-food grocery items such as household supplies, or hot foods.

Households must contact the welfare office to report if their income goes up dramatically. They also must reapply for SNAP periodically, typically every six to 12 months for most families and every 12 to 24 months for seniors and people with disabilities.

How Much Do Households Receive in Benefits?

jhCPW.png

The average SNAP recipient received about $133.70 a month (or about $4.40 a day) in fiscal year 2011. The SNAP benefit formula targets benefits according to need: very poor households receive larger benefits than households closer to the poverty line since they need more help affording an adequate diet. The benefit formula assumes that families will spend 30 percent of their net income for food; SNAP makes up the difference between that 30-percent contribution and the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan, a low-cost but nutritionally adequate diet established by the Agriculture Department.A family with no net income receives the maximum benefit amount, which usually equals the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan for a household of its size (see table) — though it is temporarily higher because of the 2009 Recovery Act. For example, a family of three that has $600 in net monthly income would receive the maximum benefit ($526) minus 30 percent of its net income (30 percent of $600 is $180), or $346.

SNAP in the 2009 Recovery Act

The 2009 Recovery Act temporarily boosted SNAP benefits by 13.6 percent for all SNAP households. Most households received an additional $20 to $24 per person per month in fiscal years 2009 through 2011 and a somewhat smaller increase in fiscal year 2012.

Economists consider this increase one of the most effective and fast-acting provisions of the economic recovery package. Low-income individuals generally spend all of their income meeting daily needs such as shelter, food, and transportation, so every dollar in SNAP that a low-income family receives enables the family to spend an additional dollar on food or other items. Eighty percent of SNAP benefits are redeemed within two weeks of receipt, and 97 percent are spent within a month.

The Recovery Act called for SNAP benefits to remain at their new, higher level until the program's regular annual inflation adjustments overtook it. However, as a result of legislation passed in 2010, the increase will terminate in November 2013, causing a sizeable and abrupt benefit reduction for virtually all households on the program.

http://www.cbpp.org/...fa=view&id=2226



Edited by ☠

India, gun buyback and steamroll.

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Food Stamp Fraud Costing Taxpayers Billions

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The above table shows the inverse relationship between the number of food stamp recipients and the percentage of cases investigated for fraud in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. While the number of food stamp recipients has significantly increased (now up to a total of 45 million Americans) the percentage of cases investigated for fraud has not increased or even remained constant. The result is that fraudsters are duping taxpayers of millions, even billions, of dollars.

According to fiscal year 2010 data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maryland and Virginia distributed about $130 million in food stamps to individuals who were not eligible. For every $100 in benefits, those two states doled out $6.11 and $5.04, respectively, to those not eligible. The national average for that time was $3.05.

Inefficiency in the food stamp program spending is costing taxpayers billions. Of the $64.7 billion spent on the program last year (a record high that is only slated to increase), an overall $2.5 billion was spent [1] on improper food stamp payments.

Another recent audit by the Department of Agriculture on the state of Kansas showed three major sources of inefficiency in the distribution of food stamp funds. While many recipients had invalid Social Security numbers and were double-dipping between federal and state programs, many of the recipients also happened to be dead [3]. This has become a pervasive problem in the realm of government benefits. (The Social Security Administration also sends millions of dollars to recipients who are dead. [4])

Beyond protecting against fraud, the federal government should ensure that food stamps—not to mention the roughly 70 other federally funded welfare programs [5]—are helping individuals become self-reliant rather than dependent on government. Half of food stamp recipients have received the benefit for 8.5 years or more [6].

Fortunately, some lawmakers are taking action [7]. Representative Jim Jordan (R–OH) and Senator Jim DeMint (R–SC) are proposing legislation that, among other things, would attach work requirements to food stamps. The legislation would also roll back total welfare spending—which now stands at nearly $1 trillion per year [5]—to pre-recession levels once the unemployment rate recedes to 6.5 percent.

Additionally, in a recent letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “super committee”), Senator Jeff Sessions (R–AL) pointed to the food stamp program [8] as an area with great potential for reform:

Like welfare reform in the 1990’s, smart reforms to the food stamp program will improve outcomes and help more Americans achieve financial independence. Unmonitored welfare programs, over time, can hurt the very people we are seeking to help.

As Ronald Reagan noted [9] in 1968, “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.” He also stated [10] in 1970 that “welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.” Unfortunately, the federal welfare system fails to accomplish this purpose. Welfare reforms that promote work are key to achieving the goal of helping those in need become once again self-reliant and independent.

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/12/09/food-stamp-fraud-costing-taxpayers-billions/

URLs in this post:

[1] recently reported: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2011/11/maryland-virginia-top-nation-food-stamp-fraud/1962111

[2] Image: http://blog.heritage.org"http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2011/11/maryland-virginia-top-nation-food-stamp-fraud/1962111

[3] also happened to be dead: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45510874/ns/local_news-wichita_ks/t/usda-audit-identifies-kansas-food-stamp-fraud/#.TtfW8l2HibE

[4] sends millions of dollars to recipients who are dead.: http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/07/pf/social_security_benefits_deceased/index.htm

[5] roughly 70 other federally funded welfare programs: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/09/obama-to-spend-103-trillion-on-welfare-uncovering-the-full-cost-of-means-tested-welfare-or-aid-to-the-poor?query=Obama+to+Spend+%2410.3+Trillion+on+Welfare:+Uncovering+the+Full+Cost+of+Means-Tested+Welfare

[6] Half of food stamp recipients have received the benefit for 8.5 years or more: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/06/confronting-the-unsustainable-growth-of-welfare-entitlements-principles-of-reform-and-the-next-steps?query=Confronting+the+Unsustainable+Growth+of+Welfare+Entitlements:+Principles+of+Reform+and+the+Next+Step

[7] some lawmakers are taking action: http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/Solutions/wra.htm

[8] pointed to the food stamp program: http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/news/alabama/senator-sessions-recommends-food-stamp-reform

[9] noted: http://theccpp.org/reagan-template.html

[10] stated: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/reagan-quotes/

Click here to print.

http://blog.heritage.org/2011/12/09/food-stamp-fraud-costing-taxpayers-billions/


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Is President Obama Creating A Nation Of Dependents?



If the Republican primaries are any indication, one big debate in the upcoming election will be whether President Obama is pushing the country toward a European-style welfare culture.

Mitt Romney, for example, argues that "over the past three years, Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society."

Newt Gingrich has taken to calling Obama "the best food-stamp president in American history."

Obama, in contrast, says the government must play an increasing role — what he likes to call "shared responsibility" — to ensure a society that is fairer.

So is Obama turning the country into a welfare society and away from one focused on opportunity?

While it's true that the country has been headed in this direction for many years — with the explosion in entitlements since the 1960s and the aging of the population — Obama has, in fact, greatly accelerated the trend. Examples:

Direct payments. The amount of money the federal government hands out in direct payments to individuals steadily increased over the past four decades, but

shot up under Obama, climbing by almost $600 billion — a 32% increase — in his first three years. And Obama's last budget called for these payments to climb another $500 billion by 2016, at which point they would account for fully two-thirds of all federal spending.

People getting benefits. According to the

Census Bureau 49% now live in homes where at least one person gets a federal benefit — Social Security, workers comp, unemployment, subsidized housing, and the like. That's up from 44% the year before Obama took office, and way up from 1983, when fewer than a third were government beneficiaries.

Food stamps. This year, more than 46 million (15% of all Americans) will get

food stamps. That's 45% 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, but also 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 1970s, thanks mainly to easier eligibility rules. But their numbers jumped 10% in Obama's first two years in office, according to the Social Security Administration. That sharp rise was due largely to meager job prospects since the recession ended in 2009. When employment opportunities are scarce, experts note, many who could otherwise work sign up for disability benefits instead.

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No more freeloaders like LI!!!!!


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The Great Canadian to Texas Transfer Timeline:

2/22/2010 - I-129F Packet Mailed

2/24/2010 - Packet Delivered to VSC

2/26/2010 - VSC Cashed Filing Fee

3/04/2010 - NOA1 Received!

8/14/2010 - Touched!

10/04/2010 - NOA2 Received!

10/25/2010 - Packet 3 Received!

02/07/2011 - Medical!

03/15/2011 - Interview in Montreal! - Approved!!!

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Welfare/Food Stamp Fraud is no laughing matter. As taxpayers, WE are all funding these loafers and con artists.

Anyone on welfare or food stamps is commiting fraud. There's no reason to be on them in this country.


Русский форум член.

Ensure your beneficiary makes and brings with them to the States a copy of the DS-3025 (vaccination form)

If the government is going to force me to exercise my "right" to health care, then they better start requiring people to exercise their Right to Bear Arms. - "Where's my public option rifle?"

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Anyone on welfare or food stamps is commiting fraud. There's no reason to be on them in this country.

I slightly disagree. There are plenty of people who are mentally unable to work and plenty who truly are disabled.

Now I will say "disability" is abused quite a bit. Just because you are in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can't use a computer/learn a skill. Biggest cop-out ever.

Oh and don't get me started the tub of lards who get disability because they ate themselves into it.


nfrsig.jpg

The Great Canadian to Texas Transfer Timeline:

2/22/2010 - I-129F Packet Mailed

2/24/2010 - Packet Delivered to VSC

2/26/2010 - VSC Cashed Filing Fee

3/04/2010 - NOA1 Received!

8/14/2010 - Touched!

10/04/2010 - NOA2 Received!

10/25/2010 - Packet 3 Received!

02/07/2011 - Medical!

03/15/2011 - Interview in Montreal! - Approved!!!

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