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  #1  
Old 09-26-2013, 12:46 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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House Bill to reduce SNAP Benefits

What are the justifications for cutting SNAP? So far I've only seen a few liberal sites whine about the House voting to reduce SNAP benefits. What are some good reasons to reduce SNAP coverage?
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  #2  
Old 09-26-2013, 12:52 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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There really isn't any plan to cut SNAP. If you look at average funding for SNAP over the past 10 years, both the Democratic and Republican bills propose a large increase for the next ten years, as usual. The Democratic bill proposes a slightly larger increase than the Republican bill, as usual. The Democrats are therefore claiming that the Republicans want to "cut" funding from SNAP, even though, with regards to the long term trend, the Republicans actually are trying to increase funding for SNAP.
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  #3  
Old 09-26-2013, 12:53 PM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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The use of the word "whine" tips your hand perhaps a bit early.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:53 PM
Terr Terr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
What are the justifications for cutting SNAP? So far I've only seen a few liberal sites whine about the House voting to reduce SNAP benefits. What are some good reasons to reduce SNAP coverage?
The same as reducing any government program - the fact that US federal government's spending outstrips its revenues by a huge margin - that is, US government revenues are on the order of $2.2T vs. spending of 3.8T.
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  #5  
Old 09-26-2013, 12:56 PM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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If you know that the need for a program, and the demand for that program, is virtually certain to increase, then trimming that increase functions as a "cut". The distinction is purely semantic.

Why not vote for the increases proportional to the expected need, and if that need should not arise, praise the Goddess, then we can revoke those increases?
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  #6  
Old 09-26-2013, 12:58 PM
Farin Farin is offline
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SNAP is going to get cut automatically. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act boosted it to 15% above Agriculture's "Thrifty Food Program" rate. That boost ends at the end of the year.

They shouldn't reduce it more. People get as low as $75-100 a month to pay for food. If you are lucky, you'll get $150 a month. Even if you have something like 29 hours a week at McDonalds, your benefits are reduced fairly aggressively.

If you have kids, you can get additional resources via WIC, but the SNAP program by itself is already a fairly insufficient payout.
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  #7  
Old 09-26-2013, 01:00 PM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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Bootstraps! If you can't pull yourself up by them, eat them! Leather is beef!
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  #8  
Old 09-26-2013, 01:01 PM
Farin Farin is offline
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Bootstraps! If you can't pull yourself up by them, eat them! Leather is beef!
Please, don't. Really. Just....don't.
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  #9  
Old 09-26-2013, 01:03 PM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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Oh, they won't really say that, its too crazy and cruel! Nah, no way. Nope. Really, I'm sure. Pretty sure. Sorta kinda.
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  #10  
Old 09-26-2013, 01:19 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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So can we get a real answer, I'm curious about this. Are SNAP benefits actually being cut from current levels or is the GOP plan just a reduction in the amount of the increase that had previously been planned? We can quibble that it's semantics, but at the same time it's very much not fair to say the GOP is cutting SNAP benefits if they are actually voting to increase them. People who receive these benefits understand cuts to mean "my monthly benefit is going down in dollar amount from what it is now, or maybe going away entirely."

That being said, the justification I've heard on the news outlets where they have people from both sides squaring off is that the proposed GOP legislation would increase "fraud prevention" and cut out "loopholes" where people who are, for example, major lottery winners (as an example of someone with perhaps low income but huge assets) continuing to receive SNAP benefits.

From what I can tell the reality is mostly that it's being done to satisfy the baying for blood from the far right Tea Party types and really makes the party as a whole look bad. A left-leaning commentator said something on the issue I really agreed with, basically "I'm all for doing more to limit fraud in SNAP or look into situations where it doesn't make sense for certain people who are actually wealthy to be eligible to receive the benefits. But I think if we're going to get serious about stuff like this let's first look into all the fraud and waste in DoD procurement."

And that did hit home for me, because the DoD has a much larger budget than the entire SNAP system or even the entirety of DHHR and just based on "tip of the iceberg" stories we know there are horrific inefficiencies and waste in how the DoD spends money and insane fraud in the procurement process. You get much more bang for your book auditing and trying to reform that process than you do doing the same thing for a much smaller program.
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  #11  
Old 09-26-2013, 01:22 PM
Farin Farin is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
So can we get a real answer, I'm curious about this. Are SNAP benefits actually being cut from current levels
Yes. The American Recovery and Reinvestment act added 15% to the benefit payout. This benefit increase expires at the end of this year. This has been the case since the increase went into effect and no legislative bill has even been proposed (that I'm aware of) to lengthen the duration or make it permanent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
or is the GOP plan just a reduction in the amount of the increase that had previously been planned?
Yes, the GOP's plan doesn't fund it as much as the Democrat's plan.

Last edited by Farin; 09-26-2013 at 01:23 PM..
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  #12  
Old 09-26-2013, 02:02 PM
yellowjacketcoder yellowjacketcoder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
Are SNAP benefits actually being cut from current levels or is the GOP plan just a reduction in the amount of the increase that had previously been planned? We can quibble that it's semantics, but at the same time it's very much not fair to say the GOP is cutting SNAP benefits if they are actually voting to increase them. People who receive these benefits understand cuts to mean "my monthly benefit is going down in dollar amount from what it is now, or maybe going away entirely."
To be fair both ways, if your choice is between an increase that matches inflation, and an increase that is less than inflation, the option that is less than inflation is going to represent a cut in utility, regardless of what happens to the actual dollar amount.

Last edited by yellowjacketcoder; 09-26-2013 at 02:02 PM..
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  #13  
Old 09-26-2013, 03:02 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Originally Posted by elucidator View Post
If you know that the need for a program, and the demand for that program, is virtually certain to increase ...
Maybe they realize that "need" and "demand" are not necessarily the same thing?
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  #14  
Old 09-26-2013, 03:08 PM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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These are our people, yes? If they are not our people, who's people are they?
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2013, 03:28 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Originally Posted by elucidator View Post
These are our people, yes? If they are not our people, who's people are they?
Who? What? "our people"?
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  #16  
Old 09-26-2013, 04:41 PM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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Seriously? You need that idea explained to you? Alas.
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  #17  
Old 09-26-2013, 04:58 PM
Richard Parker Richard Parker is offline
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It's a shame. For all the GOP bluster about fraud and waste in aid to the poor, SNAP is among the least subject to fraud and waste. What's more, it's also regarded as among the most efficient and effective.

But it's obvious why they choose SNAP and not something else. Just spend an hour in the comments section of an article on SNAP in any right-leaning news site.
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  #18  
Old 09-26-2013, 05:16 PM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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How about you do that and get back to us? You seem like a fairly bright fellow, I'm confident we can trust your reporting.
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  #19  
Old 09-26-2013, 09:22 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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But he who does not work shall not eat. It's so deeply engrained into our culture. Even John Smith, one of the first European migrants, said, he who does not work shall not eat.
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  #20  
Old 09-26-2013, 09:32 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is offline
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Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
But he who does not work shall not eat. It's so deeply engrained into our culture. Even John Smith, one of the first European migrants, said, he who does not work shall not eat.
Even John Smith! My goodness.
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  #21  
Old 09-26-2013, 09:41 PM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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Funny fact: when he checked into a motel for some scarlet letter action, he would claim his name was Ignatz Horowitz.
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  #22  
Old 09-26-2013, 11:12 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
SNAP is among the least subject to fraud and waste. What's more, it's also regarded as among the most efficient and effective.
Cite? And if true, which aid for the poor program is most subject to fraud and waste / least efficient and effective? Maybe we can agree to eliminate that program and increase funding for SNAP. Would you join me in advocating for such an effort?
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  #23  
Old 09-27-2013, 01:11 AM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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Oil industry subsidies seem like a good place to start. Of course, that is aid to people who are nowhere near to being poor, so it maybe doesn't count.
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  #24  
Old 09-27-2013, 06:22 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
That being said, the justification I've heard on the news outlets where they have people from both sides squaring off is that the proposed GOP legislation would increase "fraud prevention" and cut out "loopholes" where people who are, for example, major lottery winners (as an example of someone with perhaps low income but huge assets) continuing to receive SNAP benefits.
If anyone is saying that they're either misinformed or lying. That particular loophole doesn't exist. If you have more than about 2,000-3,000 assets you do not qualify for food stamps whether you have an income or not. So a major lottery winner simply doesn't qualify, period, and if such a person was getting food stamps they're committing fraud.

If a person on SNAP does win the lottery big they are required to report that and withdraw from the program.
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  #25  
Old 09-27-2013, 07:21 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
If a person on SNAP does win the lottery big they are required to report that and withdraw from the program.
They probably are calling it SNAP fraud for a reason. I'd guess like every government program on earth there are administrative lag issues, most likely the government does not know right away that you've won the lottery. Sans action on your part, you'd continue to receive benefits for some time until they became aware that you had substantial assets.
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  #26  
Old 09-27-2013, 07:31 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by elucidator View Post
Oil industry subsidies seem like a good place to start. Of course, that is aid to people who are nowhere near to being poor, so it maybe doesn't count.
This has been debunked so many times to almost not be worth responding to; I'm against subsidies in general, that beings said the reason we have oil industry subsidies is because both left and right love them. The idea that it's some evil coalition of Republicans and Exxon executives is false.

Those subsidies exist because they appeal to both parties, and both parties supported them. Why? Of the roughly $4.5bn in oil subsidies in 2010, $1bn was for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve--something pretty much no one advocates we get rid of. Another $570m was the Low Income Home Energy Assitance Program which insures people in the Northeast where many homes are heated by fuel oil can keep the furnace running in winter-time, when lack of home heating can and has killed people. Another $1bn is in tax writeoffs for agricultural fuel use. All three of these popular programs account for more than half of the fuel subsidies annually and have wide bipartisan support. Liberals would never vote to end LIHEAP for example, almost no one would vote to end the SPR, and farm state legislators of both parties would never end the agricultural fuel subsidies. Much of the remainder of the fuel subsidies are common manufacturing tax credits that all manufacturers can take advantage of (and even non-manufacturing companies like software companies have been able to take advantage of them at times)--and Big Labor and President Obama love manufacturer tax credits.

Railing against big oil and fuel subsidies is political theater at its worst, and shows how both sides will take advantage of complex issues by boiling them down to simplistic misrepresentations.
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  #27  
Old 09-27-2013, 08:36 AM
Richard Parker Richard Parker is offline
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Cite?
95% of SNAP funding goes to benefits. 5% is anti-fraud. And yet, SNAP has an overpayment rate of only 2.2 percent (which includes not just fraud but any accidental overpayment or non-eligible payment) based on about 50,000 annual random investigations. Compare that to Medicare fee-for-service (8.5% erroneous payment rate) or Medicare Advantage Part C (11.4% erroneous payment rate).

There is some misuse on the other end, using SNAP benefit to buy prepared food or toilet paper or what-have-you. But those rates are also low, in part because if the store gets caught by the 50,000 audits, they get removed from the program, which means bankruptcy for many such stores. (And, in any event, that kind of misuse shouldn't trouble you very much. Direct cash transfers are among the most effective anti-poverty mechanisms, since people know better than the government how to spend $50 to make their life better--a principle I'm pretty sure I've heard out of Republican lips more than once.)

Finally, there does not seem to be any evidence that SNAP benefits cause lower work participation. Most beneficiaries are children, the elderly, and the disabled. But among those who can work, the rate of work participation is higher after enrollment in the program.

http://www.offthechartsblog.org/tag/...n-SNAP-series/

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/...-of-efficienty

http://feedingamerica.org/how-we-fig...realities.aspx

Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
And if true, which aid for the poor program is most subject to fraud and waste / least efficient and effective? Maybe we can agree to eliminate that program and increase funding for SNAP. Would you join me in advocating for such an effort?
Of the major programs, my guess would be Medicare (which is of course not exclusively for the poor).

I would not join you in slashing Medicare, no. But then I'm not the one advocating slashing aid. I'm saying if you do decide to cut aid, in makes zero sense to start with food stamps.
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  #28  
Old 09-27-2013, 08:45 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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Originally Posted by yellowjacketcoder View Post
To be fair both ways, if your choice is between an increase that matches inflation, and an increase that is less than inflation, the option that is less than inflation is going to represent a cut in utility, regardless of what happens to the actual dollar amount.
And if you are expecting a growth in qualified participants because - oh, say, our population is increasing and we really haven't fixed our unemployment issue around low skill jobs - or paid them a living wage - then you have the double whammy if you fund at the same levels - inflation plus more need.

(Note, I'm not in favor of most "living wage" proposals which seem to ignore economics - but if the only low skilled job you can find is part time at $7.50 an hour, and you are middle aged and raising a family that you started back before the factory in town shut down when you had a "good job for life" you might need some assistance).
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  #29  
Old 09-27-2013, 09:20 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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These are our people, yes? If they are not our people, who's people are they?
They are Obama's people, and he will be their god.
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  #30  
Old 09-27-2013, 09:34 AM
Blackberry Blackberry is offline
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
If anyone is saying that they're either misinformed or lying. That particular loophole doesn't exist. If you have more than about 2,000-3,000 assets you do not qualify for food stamps whether you have an income or not. So a major lottery winner simply doesn't qualify, period, and if such a person was getting food stamps they're committing fraud.
Not true. In many, many cases people are exempt from asset limits. Almost all of the recipients in my state are exempt but I don't know whether it varies by state. But of course anyone who wins millions in the lottery would have to be a complete idiot to not be earning interest on their assets, which would count as income.
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  #31  
Old 09-27-2013, 09:39 AM
Terr Terr is offline
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Not true. In many, many cases people are exempt from asset limits. Almost all of the recipients in my state are exempt but I don't know whether it varies by state. But of course anyone who wins millions in the lottery would have to be a complete idiot to not be earning interest on their assets, which would count as income.
There are lots of ways to put the assets to work earning money that would not show up as income in the present.
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  #32  
Old 09-27-2013, 09:58 AM
Blackberry Blackberry is offline
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Originally Posted by Terr View Post
There are lots of ways to put the assets to work earning money that would not show up as income in the present.
Still, I'm sure few SNAP recipients have substantial assets anyway, so no biggie. They probably spend more money verifying assets than they do just disregarding assets.
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  #33  
Old 09-27-2013, 10:03 AM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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There are lots of ways to put the assets to work earning money that would not show up as income in the present.
However, offering proof and citation for bald-faced authoritative claims is not considered "assets", if that's whats holding you back.
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  #34  
Old 09-27-2013, 10:11 AM
Farin Farin is offline
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There are lots of ways to put the assets to work earning money that would not show up as income in the present.
While you can do those things to walk under the "income" limit, you would have the assets counted against you.

You don't get to have $20,000 in equity in your house and get on SNAP. Or, at least, aren't supposed to. I'm sure there are people who abuse SNAP, but I have an issue with punishing someone who has forgotten what food looks like just because some douche wants an extra $150 in food money each month.
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  #35  
Old 09-27-2013, 10:25 AM
Terr Terr is offline
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Originally Posted by Farin View Post
While you can do those things to walk under the "income" limit, you would have the assets counted against you.

You don't get to have $20,000 in equity in your house and get on SNAP. Or, at least, aren't supposed to.
Yes, you do, at least in some states. Example:

http://www.massresources.org/snap-fi...ssethouseholds
Most households no longer have an asset limit for the SNAP food stamp program. The asset test has been eliminated in most cases.
And even for the small number of people who do have the asset limit, if you look further in that document, the house does not count toward it.

Last edited by Terr; 09-27-2013 at 10:27 AM..
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  #36  
Old 09-27-2013, 11:11 AM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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Oh, great, just great! In order to save a few million in SNAP, we force more underwater mortgaged homes out on a depressed market. Fucking brilliant! With a bit of luck, and some time, they will be broke, hungry, and homeless! The banks will love that idea, nothing they like better than a brisk day of writing down assets!

In the famous words of the Sundance Kid: "You just keep thinking, Butch, that's what you're good at!"
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  #37  
Old 09-27-2013, 11:28 AM
Blackberry Blackberry is offline
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Originally Posted by Farin View Post
You don't get to have $20,000 in equity in your house and get on SNAP. Or, at least, aren't supposed to.
I don't think equity in your house is ever a countable asset (which is a good thing).
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  #38  
Old 09-27-2013, 05:54 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Originally Posted by Blackberry View Post
Not true. In many, many cases people are exempt from asset limits.
Cite please.
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  #39  
Old 09-27-2013, 06:04 PM
Farin Farin is offline
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Originally Posted by Terr View Post
Yes, you do, at least in some states. Example:

http://www.massresources.org/snap-fi...ssethouseholds
Most households no longer have an asset limit for the SNAP food stamp program. The asset test has been eliminated in most cases.
And even for the small number of people who do have the asset limit, if you look further in that document, the house does not count toward it.
Well that's new information to me. I'll have to update.
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  #40  
Old 09-27-2013, 06:59 PM
Blackberry Blackberry is offline
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Cite please.
Here:

Quote:
Your household can have income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and be eligible for Basic Food. Asset limits also don't apply to households with total monthly income under this limit.
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  #41  
Old 09-27-2013, 07:46 PM
mrclose mrclose is offline
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Cite please.
Where ya been?

$2M Michigan lottery winner defends use of food stamps

Quote:
A Michigan man who won $2 million in a state lottery game continues to collect food stamps 11 months after striking it rich.

And there's nothing the state can do about it, at least for now.

Leroy Fick, 59, of Auburn won $2 million in the state lottery TV show "Make Me Rich!" last June. But the state's Department of Human Services determined he was still eligible for food stamps, Fick's attorney, John Wilson of Midland, said Tuesday.

Eligibility for food stamps is based on gross income and follows federal guidelines; lottery winnings are considered liquid assets and don't count as income. As long as Fick's gross income stays below the eligibility requirement for food stamps, he can receive them, even if he has a million dollars in the bank.
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/detriot/...172712202.html
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  #42  
Old 09-27-2013, 07:57 PM
Leaper Leaper is offline
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I have read (online and unsourced; I'd love to find a source) that every dollar of SNAP paid out leads to a lot more ($4-5?) community spending.
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  #43  
Old 09-27-2013, 09:39 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Where ya been?
Well, news to me - it's certainly not that way in Indiana. I'd say maybe I should move to Michigan but I'm not a lottery winner and by doing so I'd lose my health insurance.
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  #44  
Old 09-27-2013, 10:27 PM
Farin Farin is offline
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Well, news to me - it's certainly not that way in Indiana. I'd say maybe I should move to Michigan but I'm not a lottery winner and by doing so I'd lose my health insurance.
It's actually worse than that.

Quote:
About 14 percent of lottery winners in Michigan were either receiving welfare benefits or living with welfare recipients, according to a report released this week by the stateís Department of Human Services. Thatís approximately 3,500 lottery winners that are benefitting from welfare, the report found.
Some of those jack pots are as low as $1,000 (which I would probably exclude....but I'm nice.) but it's not counted as income.
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