Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Sunday, October 23, 2016

By Jake Grovum,

WASHINGTON — A fresh round of food stamp cuts at the state level are underway, on top of federal food stamp reductions that hit millions of Americans twice since November. In some states, policymakers have imposed additional cuts that jeopardize benefits for hundreds of thousands.

The impact of the reductions is just beginning to take hold, or soon will.

“They’re getting cut off and seeking help,” said Debi Kreutzman of the Kansas Food Bank, which is dealing with changes that could affect 20,000 Kansans. “We’re starting to see that come into play now, and I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse.”

The state cuts target a relatively small portion of the food stamp population: low-income able-bodied adults, without children, 18 to 50 years old — estimated to be about 10 percent of the more than 47 million in the program. In some states, recipients are losing benefits because of reinstated work requirements as a condition of qualifying for food stamps.

These cuts come on top of an across-the-board 5 percent reduction of benefits to all food stamp recipients’ benefits last November. As part of the farm bill earlier this year, Congress also closed a loophole and cut benefits for 850,000 households, although many states affected are moving to block the cuts for now.

The federal food stamp program (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) limits how long low-income childless, able-bodied adults can receive food stamps to three months in a three-year period, unless they are working or participating in a training or workfare program for at least 20 hours a week. Other food stamp recipients face less stringent work requirements, and there are exemptions for those with children or other caregivers.

The 2009 stimulus bill suspended these requirements through 2010, and after that states were allowed to waive them if they met certain conditions based on their economies and job markets. Most every state has waived the requirements since 2011.

In recent years, though, some states — many controlled by Republicans — began to rethink the waivers, which were part of the 1996 welfare reforms and designed to give states flexibility in times of high unemployment. With the start of the new federal fiscal year last October, eight went back to enforcing the requirements, and 10 waived them only in part of their state or for part of this year. The changes are just beginning to be felt in some of those states.

In Delaware, officials insist a waiver is unnecessary because the state’s work-training and placement program has been able to manage the growing ranks of the jobless. But the Food Bank of Delaware said some recipients have hit the three-month cutoff unable to find work. The state might soon reconsider the requirements.

“The case load is growing pretty dramatically,” said Elaine Archangelo, director of the Division of Social Services for Delaware. “So we have been considering if there are areas where we could, should request a waiver.”

Of states without waivers, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming were no longer eligible, because their economies and job markets had improved, as measured by the eight factors considered by the federal government when determining waiver eligibility. Others, such as Delaware, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia, are going without them despite being eligible for at least partial waivers.

Ohio, Colorado, New York, Texas and Wisconsin are all waiving the work requirements for only part of the year or in certain areas, even though they were eligible for full coverage. Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont were eligible only for partial waivers.

Ohio chose to go without a waiver for most of the state. Only 16 out of 88 counties are exempt — mainly rural, Appalachian regions where the average unemployment rate was 10.2 percent or higher in 2011 through 2012. The situation left food banks and food stamp outreach workers in Ohio scrambling, facing a shortage of jobs and training opportunities.

  • 4sanity4all

    This is a very sad state of affairs. The young people that I know would much prefer to have a job that allowed them to pay their bills as well as put food on their table. However, the available jobs are few, and most available jobs offer low pay, even for people with skills and degrees. I know so many people that are underemployed, I have never seen the likes of it in my life. Instead of wasting time and money on imaginary scandals, I wish that Congress would get serious about creating government jobs and altering the tax code to nudge companies to create jobs on American soil. It is clear that businesses will not create any well paid jobs until they have to, either to avoid fines or higher taxes. American workers have never been as productive, and have not been so poorly compensated since the Gilded Age. Disgusting.

  • Budjob

    I believe now is the time for the parasitic bastards that comprise congress to vote themselves a raise!! I’m starting to really detest these Son-of – a-Bitches!!!

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    And just think. A significant number of these food stamp recipients are young, junior enlisted men and women in the military. They need these benefits so they can afford to feed their families, even at the reduced prices in the Commissaries. And now, the DoD is talking about cutting those back, too. This will force these folks who really are living paycheck-to-paycheck further into the local economy.

  • docb

    Bloody gop baggers..Send them all home to rot! Cruel and greedy– handing out HUGE subsidies to Corporations but starving children, veterans, and the elderly!

  • Dominick Vila

    In all fairness, both the Federal and State governments had no choice on this matter. They must find ways to offset the fiscal losses associated with policies that allow the wealthiest members of our society to pay little or no taxes by stashing their money away in foreign banks, investing abroad, and/or using dancing horses as therapeutic medical deductions.
    Hopefully, people will wake up and realize that our entire system of government and media have have been bought and are controlled by people like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and a few others. Policy making is no longer intended to benefit the American society at large, it is designed to benefit corporations and the elite. The excuse for the current state of affairs, which claims that a prosperous business environment and a wealthy elite translate to economic growth and job creation, has not proven to be true. The middle class that was the mainstay of our economy, the poor, the elderly and students have been hit hard by a political climate that encourages the transfer of wealth to those who already have it, at the expense of those who are struggling to put food on the table.
    If the trend continues, it may not be long before civil unrest becomes evident. Society can ignore the plight of its most vulnerable citizens for a while by handing them alms that allow them to survive, but it never lasts. Sooner or later people realize they are being used and abused, and that the entire system is stacked against them instead of working for them. When that happens, the outcome is usually a violent takeover of government by the dispossessed. Hopefully the ones that have the most to lose from this trend realize the effects of their greed and uncaring habits, and change course before it is too late to avoid the inevitable.

    • alexis862

      My Uncle Isaac just got a nice 12 month old
      Jeep from only workin on a pc at home… Read Full Article F­i­s­c­a­l­P­o­s­t­.­ℂ­o­m

    • Independent1

      Dominick, you know what’s interesting? Is that it looks like those that have gotten rich via actually working harder and having some intelligence, are not the rich that are driving the GOP to rob taxpayers blind. Rather it’s the rich who have gotten that way via either devious schemes (like being a corporate pirate) , being involved in activities like gambling in Vegas, or maybe have inherited their money and not really worked for it or via some other devious low IQ way, who really represent the GOP.

      A recent article in Yahoo News states that of the 10 weathiest political districts in America, 8 of them have long been represented by Democrats. This re-inforces my belief in people – that the truly intelligent can see clearly that it’s Democrats who really lead America to prosperty for all, including the wealthy. It’s the wealthy who have gotten that way by using their brains and hard work, who can see that when Republicans are in office everyone suffers but those who are wealthy either by inheriting their wealth, or by some devious gambling scheme including buying out foundering companies, trashing them in America, pocketing millions of dollars while shipping millions of American jobs overeas.

      I’ve long wondered why the truly rich would vote to elect presidents whose record of economic growth, including that of the stock market, Republicans – when it’s Democrats whose economic and stock market performance are vastly superior. And the answer is, that the truly knowledgeable don’t vote Republican, they vote Democrat. It’s the low IQ and devious Americans who vote against their own best interests and vote Republican.

      iSee this link:

      Party of the rich: In Congress, it’s the Democrats–election.html

      • Dominick Vila

        I wonder often about the logic of some of the claims the GOP makes, especially the one about Democrats depending on government handouts. The only explanation I can think of if that their claims are a desperate attempt to deflect attention from themselves, their policies, and their record. We have to go no farther than consider the fact that the states that are most dependent on government handouts, such as MEDICAID and food stamps, are RED states to understand why they try to divert attention from the reality of their circumstances.

  • charles king

    People, I do not know What? is going on with our government but it is time that those Rich people stay out of the People’s Democracy. Where? has our Democracy gone When? hungray citizens, out of work has to wait around to get food stamps, I am pissed off . Who? are the Representives who has the authority to deny the People’s need. Get rid of these bastards, we do not need their disrespect, this is your country and you have the VOTE and you know Who? they are so VOTE their sorry asses out. Plutocracy is their game and they are all over small town USA. MONIES has shown their ugly faces and it is time that the American People go back to their Democracy and VOTE these people(Greedy Capitalistic Pigs, Plutocracts, Republicans and Democracts, and ETC DO NOTHINGIERS) out of our lives, Get them out of office, You know WHO? they are. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING