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  #1  
Old 08-28-2000, 09:53 AM
Green Bean Green Bean is online now
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A thread over in the Pit caused me to wonder about this question:

What are you allowed to buy with food stamps? What are you not allowed to buy?

Some of the posts in the Pit thread described families buying all sorts of junk food with food stamps. I was under the apparently erroneous impression that food stamps could only be used for certain foods, like bread, milk, and cheese. So, what's real deal?
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2000, 10:00 AM
wring wring is offline
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Food stamps can be used to purchase food items. No paper/plastic, cleaning items. No pre-fixed foods, like it the supermarket also sells sandwhiches that are already made up.
no bottle deposits.
no alcohol
no tabacco
no drugs (either over the counter or prescription)

CAN be used for chips, pop, frozen tv dinners etc.

WIC coupons (Women, infant and child) can only be used for the items specified (usually milk, juice, cheese etc.)
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  #3  
Old 08-28-2000, 10:01 AM
mouthbreather mouthbreather is offline
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AFAIK, you can't buy alcohol or cigarettes. Anything else is fair game in the grocery store (I used to have a roommate who got them). There was an easy way around that. Anything under $1 they gave you cash back. He'd buy something for 10 cents, get 90 back. repeat this 3x. Then take the $2.70 and buy cigarettes.
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Old 08-28-2000, 10:04 AM
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I had a roommate that got food stamps from his mom for his food. One day, we needed milk, and it was before my payday. He gave me $2 in food stamps. Ugh! I hated to use them, but I was thirsty.
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  #5  
Old 08-28-2000, 10:11 AM
Doctor Jackson Doctor Jackson is offline
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The Food Stamps program is overseen by the Department of Agriculture. Here's what the USDA Food Stamps brochure says:
Quote:
Food stamps cannot be used to buy:
- Any nonfood item, such as pet foods; soaps, paper products, and household supplies; grooming items, toothpaste, and cosmetics
- Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
- Vitamins and medicines
- Any food that will be eaten in the store
- Hot foods that are ready to eat
- Any food marketed to be heated in the store

If the cashier owes you change from a food stamp purchase, up to 99 cents of it can be in coins. Change in even dollar amounts will be given to you in $1 food stamps.
The link is http://fns1.usda.gov/fsp/MENU/apps/facts.htm
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2000, 10:21 AM
TNTruth TNTruth is offline
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Dr. J pretty much covered it.

Just one more point: A year or so ago The Food Stamp people went to a "debit card" system where your account is credited monthly. So the "buy a 10 cent pack of gum and get 90 cents in change" ploy doesn't work any more; there's no change.

I always thought the hot foods prohibition was kind of screwy. The grocery store deli can bake you a cake, and you can buy it with food stamps. But you have to wait for it to cool off!
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  #7  
Old 08-28-2000, 10:24 AM
lee lee is offline
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The whole reason behind foodstamps is that the government interferes with food prices to raise them. This supposedly helps farmers and is good for other reasons but means that some poor ppl can't afford food that they would be able to afford if the government didn't interfere. So to get around that argument against artificially high food prices, they invented food stamps.

I was on foodstamps the last year I went to college. If it were not for them, I would not have been able to finish college and graduate and become a taxpayer. My husband and I worked every hour we could and still did not have enough money to buy groceries. I see nothing wrong in accepting and using food stamps.
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  #8  
Old 08-28-2000, 10:25 AM
Green Bean Green Bean is online now
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Thanks for the responses so far.

Wring's response clears up a good part of my confusion. At the Shop-Rite, some items (like cheese) are labeled "WIC Approved Item," or some such. I didn't know WIC coupons and food stamps were two different things.

I have another related question: Is the dollar amount of the food stamps given to a family usually so high that they can "afford" TV dinners? In other words, what is their incentive to buy rice and beans if they can not use the food stamp money that they saved toward something else that they need?
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  #9  
Old 08-28-2000, 10:37 AM
handy handy is offline
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Let's see GB, in 1998 a woman with one child in California got $479.00 in cash grant & 60 bucks in food stamps [this is an actually example). That is for one month. Try living on that dude.
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  #10  
Old 08-28-2000, 10:55 AM
IzzyR IzzyR is offline
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handy,

Your figures are misleading. The two programs you cite are not the only two available. There's also HUD which pays for rent, HEAP which pays for heating bills, WIC which pays for food for pregnant women and kids under a certain age. And others that I don't remember offhand (or never heard of).

Having said that, I don't think anyone can live especially wealthily living solely off government programs. But the poverty is not nearly as dire as advocates would have you believe. (And this leaves out the possibility of cheating, which is thought to be widespread).
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  #11  
Old 08-28-2000, 11:11 AM
lee lee is offline
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It seemed pretty dire to me when I had to go hungry and could not prove I was poor to the satifaction of anyone offering help.

Many times before i finally graduated college, we were one illness, one accident, one unexpected bill away from being without a home. In one case we could not make our $185 rent payment and the only reason we did not go homeless was we discovered that we had been paying for the hot water for both apartments. The landlady compromised and let us use out deposit for a last month's rent and gave us 2 weeks rent free. Shen knew we kept the place in great shape.

I have experienced malnutrition firsthand. My tongue has bled because I had to rely on polished rice for most of my meals.

Poverty is dire, whereever and whoever is experiencing it. Yes, there are programs available, but they are not as easy to enter or even find out about as you might think.
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  #12  
Old 08-28-2000, 11:24 AM
IzzyR IzzyR is offline
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lee:
Quote:
Yes, there are programs available, but they are not as easy to enter or even find out about as you might think.
I would suggest that your experience is not fully reflective of the welfare situation in that you are not, evidently, a career welfare person. There are many who are, who have in many cases been brought up with the system. These people have long since made it their business to find out what the programs are and how to enter.
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  #13  
Old 08-28-2000, 11:28 AM
BobT BobT is offline
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I believe you can food stamps to buy seeds to grow fruits and vegetables also. At least you could back when my dad had a store before he closed it in 1991.

He was very vigilant on what he would use food stamps for and some customers got ticked off when he wouldn't let them buy cigarettes.
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  #14  
Old 08-28-2000, 02:28 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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I know somebody who used to get food stamps. You can use them to buy candy bars, but not coffee. This I don't understand. As everyone knows, caffeine is one of the four major food groups (sugar, fat, and alcohol being the others.)
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  #15  
Old 08-28-2000, 02:39 PM
LonesomePolecat LonesomePolecat is offline
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To turn food stamps into beer and cigarettes, you sell your stamps to someone at half their face value and then use the cash to buy your beer and cigarettes. I've lived in a number of poor neighborhoods and I've seen this done at least a couple of dozen times. But this was back in the '70's. If they're using debit accounts instead of food stamps nowadays, I'd think that would lick the problem.

Or maybe you could just agree to buy X dollars worth of groceries for your "friend," who would pay you 1/2X dollars for the groceries. Then you'd have your cash for tobacco and alcohol.

There's always a way to abuse the system.
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  #16  
Old 08-28-2000, 02:40 PM
LonesomePolecat LonesomePolecat is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by bibliophage
I know somebody who used to get food stamps. You can use them to buy candy bars, but not coffee. This I don't understand. As everyone knows, caffeine is one of the four major food groups (sugar, fat, and alcohol being the others.)
I thought the four basic food groups were pizza, beer, cigarettes and pot.
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  #17  
Old 08-28-2000, 02:52 PM
Badtz Maru Badtz Maru is offline
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When I was 19, my girlfriend's father collected a LOT of foodstamps by claiming his two daughters and his stepdaughter as dependents, when none of them lived at home. He would sell them to me for 50 cents on the dollar, and I would use them to buy soft drinks to stock my Coke machine with. I made HUGE profits, over $200 a week in the summer.

People still sell their food stamps even though it's now a food debit card (they call them Lone Star Cards in Texas). It requires more trust these days, you pay the person with the card for the amount you are going to use (50 cents on the dollar) and borrow their card. You bring back the receipt and the card when you are done shopping. It does require a bit of trust if the other person is paying for less food credit than you have on your card, but it does go on.
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  #18  
Old 08-28-2000, 04:28 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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I was on food stamps at different times in the 1980s. I can tell you that single non-disabled men did NOT get anywhere near the amount that mothers or even single women did. I believe I got maybe $150.00 worth per month in 1988. And unless you were really fond of beans, rice, and macaroni & cheese it was tough stretching out a food budget.

As far as what you could buy at the store, the guidelines mentioned earlier were the rule, although it depended on what store you went to. A few were snotty about letting me buy food items they considered luxuries. Some would not let you make a purchase of less then one dollar. About the weirdest thing I remember was being told I could not buy a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice with food stamps.
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  #19  
Old 08-28-2000, 04:48 PM
lee lee is offline
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Lots of people are really snotty and judgemental when you use food stamps. I remember buying rice, peanut butter and jelly, white bread, frozen veggies, cheese, cocoa, sugar, powdered milk, some generic sandwich cookies, ground beef, ham, mushrooms, cheese, potatoes, dry pasta, chicken, and onions and still getting nasty remarks about my purchases.
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  #20  
Old 08-29-2000, 08:53 AM
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When I worked as a cashier in the States (about seven years ago), you wouldn't believe how many people tried to get me to let them pay for cigarettes with food stamps! Often it was the same person, more than once! If our supermarket had sold alcohol (but since it was in PA, you could only buy it at People's Republic of Pennsylvania licensed stores), no doubt people would have tried to buy that with food stamps too.

About the amount of food stamps issued per month--I remember one woman buying about $300 worth of food, then handing over a huge stack of food stamps. I still remember having to tear them out of the packets. Was that her whole monthly supply?

Food stamps were OK to deal with, but the WIC checks were a pain in the neck. The cashier is supposed to tick off everything on the check, notify the customer when they have failed to purchase something on the list, check ID, and inform the customer when they are claiming something that is not on the list. The last always led to arguments because if, for example, someone had bought a 400-gram jar of peanut butter instead of a 300-gram jar, you were not supposed to allow them to buy it on the check. Usually I just let them have it rather than deal with the hassle of arguing with them. Has this system been changed in the six years since I left the US?
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  #21  
Old 08-29-2000, 09:20 AM
handy handy is offline
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In 70s they gave you food instead of stamps. The agriculture department gave the food. It was the most foul tasting food you can imagine. You'd get like 10 lbs of dry milk per week & 20lbs of flour, 10 lbs corn meal, canned orange juice. yuck.

My friend asked me to buy some food for her once with her food stamps. I went to the same store as usual & the clerk gave the most foul look. All that just for using 2 bucks of stamps. sigh. The things people who are trying to make something of themselves have to deal with. sigh
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  #22  
Old 08-29-2000, 12:00 PM
Usurer Usurer is offline
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I remember seeing something on 60 Minutes about 5 years ago that indicated you could buy a rocket launcher with food stamps (at least in south Florida).
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  #23  
Old 08-29-2000, 01:48 PM
psiekier psiekier is offline
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Finally, something I can answer!

Wow, amongst all the topics where the best I could do was a smart-ass remark, I finally get a topic I know something about.

During the first three-and-a-half years of my college life, I was a cashier at Albertsons #4235 (located in Wichita Falls, Texas). We took food stamps and also particpated in the Texas WIC ("Women, Infant, and Children") program.

Dr. Jackson was dead on the mark.

We had basically three kinds of products at our store:

-- Non-taxable food you could buy with food stamps, like cereal, milk, and bread.

-- Taxable food you could buy with food stamps, like soda and chocolate bars. Naturally, we had a special cash register key that removed the tax calculation when the purchaser was paying with stamps.

-- Everything else, which inluded beer, cigarettes, tennis balls, and hot food prepared for consumption (such as fried chicken) in our store's deli. In all honesty, this category was subdivided by department, but that's not relevant here.

The whole time I was there, I probably reprimanded less than ten customers on the proper use of food stamps. Of course, there were the folks that would purchase just enough to get $0.90 in change and then come back later to buy cigarettes with three such handfuls of coins, but they were a rare (and desperate) breed.


Now, on to WIC:

Each WIC card was marked by the goverment to allow the bearer to purchase a specified portion of food, with a maximum dollar value not to be exceeded.

In some cases, like for baby formula, customers could choose from a certain number of brands allowed them, while in other cases, like eggs or beans, the card simply required that they choose the least expensive brand that had packages in the correct sizes.

Over the years, the most common cards I saw were for baby formula, milk, cereal, eggs, and beans, but there are/were doubtless more than that.

As with food stamps, there was the requisite number of folks who didn't read or couldn't understand the instructions, plus a handful that deliberately tried to put one past us - say purchasing expensive, sugary cereals like Lucky Charms or Froot Loops when then were supposed to be more nutritious corn flakes or oatmeal.

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  #24  
Old 08-29-2000, 02:07 PM
black rabbit black rabbit is offline
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I'm probably admitting to a felony, but here goes...
A few years ago, a friend of mine went on food stamps. You most definitely can not buy booze or cigs. He cooked up a little scam whereby he and a handful of friends would hit every grocery store in town, each buying the cheapest item of "real" food possible with a $1 stamp (ie, a pack of gum, a 25 cent bag of chips). You got your change in coins. After a few hours of this, we scraped enough dough together for a couple of cases of Schlitz. Ahhh, how I miss Schlitz in longneck bottles....
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  #25  
Old 08-29-2000, 02:31 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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When I was very young, my family was poor enough to qualify for food stamps, but we were repeatedly turned down. The folks running the program refused to believe that a woman with a Master's degree and a man with two years of college (my parents) could be out of work. It also probably didn't help matters that they dressed in such a way as to attempt to make a good impression.
We did make it onto food stamps for a few months, and Mom was astounded at how much they gave us-- She saw it as an opportunity to stock up for leaner times. That ended up being the same time period that we were sponsoring a family of Vietnamese refugees, and feeding 10 people on the stamps, rather than the 4 they were issued for. They (just barely) stretched that far.
A lot of it comes down to your standard of living: If you're using those stamps to buy Twinkies and Pepsi, they won't last you the month. If you're buying rice, cabbage, and powdered milk, they'll go a lot farther. Even at that, even the poorest folks are a lot better off here in the U.S. than in many third-world countries, where a half a bowl of rice a day and dirty water is the norm.
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  #26  
Old 08-29-2000, 02:34 PM
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Yep, you can buy seeds for food-bearing plants with foodstamps. So, you could buy carrots, but not pansies.
You can buy from the salad bar, but not the deli case. You can buy cans of coffee or coffee beans, but not hot coffee.
In Vermont we don't have a 'junk food' tax, though it has been proposed. The things that fall under the 'rooms and meals tax' are excluded from food stamp eligibility. That's why it's prepared foods.
The debit-card thing is much better. It's more unobtrusive and a little bit harder to abuse.

I was a cashier in a grocery store for 3 1/2 years, and it never ceased to amaze me when people would come through with foodstamps and buy fresh shrimp and $12 a pound steak. It was pretty sad, but I ALWAYS tried my best to make them as comfortable as possible while in my line. After all, I have no way of knowing why they're buying the things they are. It could be for a birthday. They could have been saving up their stamps for a special occasion. I know that there are folks who just buy junk. My town is small enough I knew most of them by name in about 4 months. But I'm not going to punish and embarrass someone just because they're not buying what I would have. Unfortunately all the cashiers weren't as thoughtful. I have seen a woman who rushed out of the store crying because the clerk chastised her for buying frozen meals and ice cream instead of fresh vegetables and cheap meat.

In Vermont, the WIC program drives around and drops cheese, milk, OJ, peanut butter and corn flakes/wheaties/cheerios off in person. You don't get a choice and you take what you get.

K.
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  #27  
Old 08-29-2000, 03:25 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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After a few hours of this, we scraped enough dough together for a couple of cases of Schlitz. Ahhh, how I miss Schlitz in longneck bottles....
Also known as, "cracking tramp stamps".
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  #28  
Old 08-29-2000, 08:20 PM
dragonlady dragonlady is offline
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Just a note about the other programs mentioned:
HUD waiting lists are at least 2 years long in California, and you have to find a landlord willing to rent to you under that program. The State pays the landlord, so they know. Only really crappy places take it, because of the increase in paperwork. The places no one will pay for.

HEAP pays once a year for large heating/power bills, at least out here. The Electic company here, PG&E, has a low income rate, around 15%.

WIC is for pregnant womend and children under 6. Specific coupons for specific items.

USDA also has surplus food giveaways, once a month. Usually things like oatmeal, rice, canned fruit, peanut butter. The amount given for a family is laughable.

Anyone living on aid with a decent quality of life is cheating the system somehow.
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  #29  
Old 08-30-2000, 12:05 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I rather take issue with that last statement, dragonlady. Maybe what you meant was standard of living, but standard of living and quality of life are most emphatically not the same thing. As I mentioned, my family was not only not cheating the system, we weren't even on the system. Our standard of living was about as close to rock-bottom as you can get in this country. However, our quality of life was very good, probably better than that of most rich folks.

Of course, there's also the question of what you mean by "decent". If you mean being able to put food on the table, and keeping the kids from suffering from malnourishment, then yes, it's possible. If you mean four ounces of meat with every meal, soft drinks, and junk food snacks, maybe not, I don't know.
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  #30  
Old 08-30-2000, 01:08 AM
zenith zenith is offline
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In Nebraska they still use stamps, not debit cards. My mom gets them and I spend them for her. I have never had a problem with anyone questioning what I buy even though I purchase TV dinners, pudding cups, cookies and ice cream. Mom has arthritis and would have trouble standing long enough to cook some things. She has a sweet tooth and buying things like ice cream help keep her calorie count up. It is often hard to get the elderly to eat enough. At least pudding and ice cream has some protein and calcium. I do get crusty looks from other customers but I just ignore them
From my days as a single mother i remember the government giving away cheese. Big 5 lb. blocks of it. Free well aged cheddar, yum.
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Old 08-30-2000, 10:15 AM
SoMoMom SoMoMom is offline
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I used to make the deli sandwiches in a convenience store. It was the first time I realized that there were some huge problems in the food stamp rules. Everyone I knew that had used food stamps before bought real-family-dinner-type food with them. At the C-store, the only "real" food (with any nutritional value) we had was the deli sandwiches. They couldn't buy those, but they could get all the chips, soda, candy bars, and Little Debbies they had stamps for. Why was the store even approved to take food stamps?
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  #32  
Old 08-30-2000, 10:51 AM
handy handy is offline
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"
From my days as a single mother i remember the government giving away cheese. Big 5 lb.
blocks of it. Free well aged cheddar, yum."

yeah, those were fun but we only got processed cheese. Like say, Velveeta.
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  #33  
Old 08-30-2000, 11:46 AM
lee lee is offline
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Zenith, people in Nebraska must have better manners then the do in Illinois.

I still don't understand where my using food stamps gave anyone the right to judge me and my grocery habits in any way, except whether the items I purchased could or could not be bought on food stamps.

Do people sneer at major and class choices of those with Pell grants? Same situation. The government is giving you power to purchase something that you could not otherwise afford because you meet the requirements. Why is there such a difference?
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  #34  
Old 08-30-2000, 11:54 AM
wring wring is offline
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the difference is that when you are going to college on a Pell grant, the only time this is known is at the registrars office. You aren't labled in class every day, as you go in and go out. they don't stamp your tests "PELL GRANT" so that the next student over can see that you're there on a PEll grant.

I was happy to see that in my son's school, they've initiated a new form of payment at the cafeteria. Everyone uses a little computer card. the computer cards look the same (are issued to individuals, but are the same color, shape size etc). so, if the kid gets free or reduced price lunches, that info is there, but also a parent can pre pay for meals, so there would be no difference to the next student in line.

FTR, I look at what EVERYBODY buys..... - especially wondered about the guy who was buying a dozen doughnuts and some liver sausage....
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  #35  
Old 08-30-2000, 02:35 PM
TampaFlyer TampaFlyer is offline
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> Lots of people are really snotty and judgemental when you use food stamps.

Maybe they're tired of working to pay for your groceries as well as their own.
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  #36  
Old 08-30-2000, 03:10 PM
lee lee is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by TampaFlyer
> Lots of people are really snotty and judgemental when you use food stamps.

Maybe they're tired of working to pay for your groceries as well as their own.
I was on food stamps for a few months. I needed them because even working as many hours as I could, and my husband working as many as he could get, we still did not earn enough to pay for basic necessities. I was in my last year of college. If not for that assistance, I would not have been able to finish. I now earn more in a week than we used to live in for an entire month. I pay more in taxes than our annual household income was for that year.

Would it really have been better for us to not eat? To not pay rent or utilities? Should I have dropped out of school and gave up my campus apartment and my work study job? Would that be a better thing than for me to do than accept food stamps, eat well, graduate and get a good job AND PAY OFF ALL MY DEBTS?

Sneering at people on food stamps is ignorant, selfish, and rude. The reason you cite shows a lack of thought and no compassion.
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  #37  
Old 08-30-2000, 03:22 PM
IzzyR IzzyR is offline
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lee,
Quote:
I still don't understand where my using food stamps gave anyone the right to judge me and my grocery habits in any way, except whether the items I purchased could or could not be bought on food stamps.
Because those people are paying for your groceries. And the reason they are paying for it is because, they have been told, you would be dying in the gutter otherwise. Therefore, if they see reason to believe that this is not the case they can be resentful. Imagine that you gave money to a poor person for an operation and found that they really needed it to rent a fancy car.

What's really tragic about your attitude is that you don't seem to acknowledge that you survived in those years (or months) off the labor of other people. It's as if money came down from the sky.
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  #38  
Old 08-30-2000, 03:24 PM
wring wring is offline
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Lee,

I believe that in your reply to Tampa, you forgot "Shortsighted".

I believe that it is audacious to assume that you will never need a temporary leg up, for whatever reasons.

A friend of mine was married to a State Employee, he was working full time, she was working full time, they had 2 sons. Her husband had a mental breakdown. During this time, although he got disability payments (70% of his check), they depleted all of their savings, trying to make ends meet, he was eventually hospitalized, then in his depression, started threatening her life, and ended up nearly killing her, and killing himself. So, after 6 months of living on reduced income because of his illness, her household of 3 were attempting to live off of her wages. Yes, she was going to get for insurance payment from his death, Social Security payments for her sons because of his death, but in the meantime, it was winter, and her heating bill had gone up, and she didn't have the money right then . she went on emergency assistance for a couple of months.

It's really nice that you personally are assured that you and your household will never experience a sudden catestrophic event, but for the rest of us, I'm glad my taxes support things like food stamps.
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  #39  
Old 08-30-2000, 03:37 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Part of the problem, too, is that there's (at least) two kinds of folks on food stamps. The first is people, like lee and my mother, who are genuinely trying their darndest to support themselves, and who need a little help until they can get a degree/job, and can start paying their own grocery bills and taxes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this, and I have no problem whatsoever with helping such folks out. On the other hand, some folks on aid programs are just plain lazy slobs, who have no intention of ever doing their part to aid society, and who may well be actively cheating the system. For these folks, I (and most other people) have very little sympathy. Of course, the problem comes when you try to separate the two groups, and only give the aid to the ones who truely ought to be getting it. If this were easy, it would be the end of yet another Big Debate in the country right now. Unfortunately, it's not easy.
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  #40  
Old 08-30-2000, 03:52 PM
lee lee is offline
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IzzyR,

I believe that foodstamps come from the government, not from the sky. The Government gets money from taxpayers, past present and future. I now gladly pay all my taxes, and as the government is still paying off the debts it has from that time period and has just bought back some of that debt, I may be paying for my own food stamps.

The government props up the prices for food for various reasons. The government gives food stamp out to people that could not otherwise afford the artificially high prices on food.

By using food stamps when I did, I made it possible for me to pay more in taxes than I would have otherwise. The government made a very good investment in me.
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  #41  
Old 08-30-2000, 04:10 PM
IzzyR IzzyR is offline
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lee,

I was not commenting on whether you were right in taking food stamps, or the government in giving it to you. But your attitude in insisting that no one should be judging what you buy ignores the fact that these are some of the same people who've been taxed to pay for these purchases. If you take the attitude that we're all responsible for each other, than you shouldn't also be saying mind your own business.
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  #42  
Old 08-30-2000, 05:00 PM
black rabbit black rabbit is offline
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I have a feeling this is going to go where the "should Viagra be covered by insurace" thread went... oddly enough, I'm coming down on the opposite side of this one.

The major dilemma we face is one of whether the government (and, by extension, society) has a responsibility to maintain the welfare of its citizens. Current public opinion seems to be that there are some citizens who are more worthy of care than others. Which is why everybody worries about senior citizens, but not the poor. Even though, in the end, the money for SS comes from the same place as the money for AFDC, I don't think most people would get too worked up about their social security-dependant grandma springing for premiun cable even though they'd be livid upon discovering that <gasp> some people on food stamps also have 36" TVs.

Like somebody said above, how do you know that the person buying a New York Strip with food stamps isn't getting it for their kid's birthday, or to celebrate his/her passing the GED, or graduating from high school, or any one of those small occasions that middle-class americans can celebrate without having to worry about where the funds are coming from.

Yes, you helped pay into the system. But you very well may need it some day. If the economy heads south again, and you, god forbid, get downsized, and have to go on food stamps, do you really want a grocery store clerk giving you a hard time for, just once to relieve the grinding monotony of macaroni and cheese and ramen, engaging in America's favorite pastime: buying extravagant crap???
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  #43  
Old 08-30-2000, 05:27 PM
manhattan manhattan is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by black455
I have a feeling this is going to go where the "should Viagra be covered by insurace" thread went...
Yeah, it's close. Could I ask people who want to, um, debate this issue greatly to open a thread in the appropriate forum?
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  #44  
Old 08-30-2000, 05:37 PM
RickG RickG is offline
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And furthermore...

[rant]

I do not think it is ever acceptable to publicly embarrass someone. If you feel you are entitled to judge what other people do (legally) with money funded by taxes, that's fine. Keep it to yourself. Don't lecture, or even treat badly, those of whose particular circumstances you are unaware.

[/rant]

Rick
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  #45  
Old 08-30-2000, 06:25 PM
Badtz Maru Badtz Maru is offline
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I would spend $70 or more on soft drinks with foodstamps, get 10 or 12 cases and sell them for 50 cents each in a Coke machine, and I NEVER got dirty looks from a cashier or customer, or if I did I didn't notice it. I think they knew that I was buying them or figured I had a scam going on and didn't want to bring attention to that fact. I was kinda surprised.

I think a LOT of the people who buy luxury foods or 10 lbs. of steak are people who bought food stamps. Sometimes if I had leftovers from buying sodas for the vending machine I would buy the expensive frozen pizzas or snack foods.
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  #46  
Old 08-30-2000, 06:32 PM
manhattan manhattan is offline
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Guess not.
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  #47  
Old 08-31-2000, 07:56 AM
IzzyR IzzyR is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by black455
Current public opinion seems to be that there are some citizens who are more worthy of care than others. Which is why everybody worries about senior citizens, but not the poor. Even though, in the end, the money for SS comes from the same place as the money for AFDC, I don't think most people would get too worked up about their social security-dependant grandma springing for premiun cable even though they'd be livid upon discovering that <gasp> some people on food stamps also have 36" TVs.
This is an outrageous statement. The money does come "in the end" from the same place - the US Treasury. But the source of the money is different. As is the rationale for giving it. The SS income represents money that the recipient has paid into the system on behalf of their own retirement. The money represents their own hard earned money, saved for them by the government. As such it is no one's business what is done with it. By contrast the food stamps do not represent money that the recipient has any inherent claim to. It is being taken from its owners on behalf of the recipients, based on the justification that the recipients need it for basic living expenses. As such, evidence that the recipients do not actually need the money for basic living expenses is very relevent indeed.

Its unfortunate that the attitude promulgated by black455 regarding SS has gained some credence. This is reflected in the call by some for means testing SS recipients. Perhaps this would be one advantage of shifiting SS to retirement acounts- to clarify what SS actually is. But that's another issue.

I heartily agree with the RickG's "rant". This should go without saying, but is case there is room to confuse my words as meaning otherwise, I will state so directly.
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  #48  
Old 08-31-2000, 08:11 AM
wring wring is offline
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Actually, some SS payments are NOT necessarily "what you've put in". Many people apply for and recieve SS disability payments without any significant work history. And, of course, survivor benefits have no direct relationship to that payment history either, in that if you die at age 20, having say 2 years SS payments into the system, but leave 3 children, those children are NOT cut off from SS payments after they've been paid the amount you paid in.
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  #49  
Old 08-31-2000, 10:03 AM
lee lee is offline
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So how do you feel about armed forces personell with families that are receiving food stamps?
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  #50  
Old 08-31-2000, 11:12 AM
IzzyR IzzyR is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by lee
So how do you feel about armed forces personell with families that are receiving food stamps?
It is unclear who this question is addressed to. Perhaps you might clarify this, and spell out which position you would like to see applied to service personnel.
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