May 3, 2013 |
One year ago this week, Pennsylvania tied eligibility for food stamps to the assets people possess. Since then, nearly 4,000 households have lost or were denied benefits because they had too many financial resources, according to the Department of Public Welfare. In that same time, many more people - around 111,000 households - were denied benefits because they failed to provide proper documentation for the asset test. Advocates for the poor now say that by weeding out a relatively small number of people with too many assets, the Department of Public Welfare made getting food stamps so complicated that deserving low-income people became inundated by paperwork and lost their benefits.
April 28, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Public Welfare Department will start asking food-stamp recipients next week to prove they do not have significant personal assets in order to qualify for benefits. Advocates for the poor say the new policy will be expensive to administer and hurt families for whom the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program can be a lifeline. It goes into effect Tuesday, but it will be about six months before the department knows how many have lost benefits. "The majority who will lose benefits - the significant majority - are seniors and people with disabilities," Julie Zaebst, policy center manager for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, said Friday.
September 15, 2011
People who are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP, formerly known as food stamps - have two ways to make the most of their purchasing power. One is Philly Food Bucks, a program of the Food Trust. Shoppers who spend $5 on produce at one of the more than 25 farmer's markets operated by the Food Trust get a $2 Philly Food Buck in return, on the spot. A list of those markets is at www.thefoodtrust.org . Or call the Food Trust at 215-575-0444. The other program, Double Dollars, is available only at the Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market.
May 2, 2012 |
I've learned plenty of lessons while taking the weeklong Food Stamp Challenge. Talk about a roller-coaster. A weekly food budget of only $35 had my feelings running the gamut, from hunger to resentment, pressure to determination, and finally just plain ole orneriness. But no matter how hollow and angry I got, the one permanent takeaway I'll have is a profound sense of gratitude. Grateful that I'm able to eat whatever I want. Grateful that I can afford fresh fruits and vegetables.
August 1, 2012 |
TRENTON - Nearly one in five New Jersey households that received emergency food stamps after Tropical Storm Irene last year was ineligible for the benefits, a review found - a result of mistakes, confusion, and fraud. The emergency Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) has been around for nearly 40 years as one of the federal government's ways to provide food in disasters. While other states have used it before, New Jersey activated D-SNAP for the first time after Irene, which caused power outages affecting two million homes and massive flooding when it hit at just below hurricane level last August.
September 20, 2013 |
The poverty rate in Philadelphia fell last year while the need for food stamps grew, a seeming paradox teased out by the widely respected American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census. What it means, experts say, is that the economy may be yielding low-wage jobs that lift some people out of poverty, but ultimately the jobs don't pay enough to feed their families. A similar pattern was repeated in Camden, where the poverty rate dipped from a startling 43 percent to 39 percent, while food-stamp need rose 12.6 percentage points between 2011 and 2012.
April 18, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Republicans controlling the House are eyeing big cuts to food stamps as they piece together legislation to trim $261 billion from the federal budget over the next decade, hoping to forestall major Pentagon cutbacks. The cuts to food stamps would reduce the monthly benefit for a family of four by almost $60, repealing increases enacted three years ago as part of President Obama's economic stimulus. The changes would also force up to three million people out of the program by tightening eligibility rules, the administration estimates.
April 13, 2012
JOHN MANTON offers me a bowl of potato soup as I take a seat in his tight Roxborough home. He's made a pot that will last for a week. It must. Manton's learned to stretch his food, a frugality demanded by the $37.25 worth of food stamps he receives weekly. He supplements that small amount with $20 from his meager savings. Through no fault of his own, Manton's been unemployed for a year, and Gov. Corbett wants to snoop into his bank account before approving the food stamps that keep Manton from starving.
May 5, 2012 |
It's hard enough to feed a family on food stamps, but this week Pennsylvania made it harder when it imposed an unreasonable asset test. Flunking the asset test means going without food stamps, even if an individual or family meets the threshold of earning no more than 160 percent of the poverty level. Households with people under age 60 are limited to $5,500 in assets. Households with people 60 and above are limited to $9,000. Houses, retirement benefits and one car are not counted, but a second car worth more than $4,650 would be. That means a family struggling to string together part-time jobs is penalized if the parents need separate cars to get to work.
May 17, 2013 |
A Camden grocery store manager was arrested Thursday and charged with stealing more than $1 million from taxpayers in a food-stamp scheme. Alexander D. Vargas, 34, allegedly bought food stamps for 50 cents on the dollar and pocketed the other 50 cents after redeeming the food stamps without selling any food, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. It is unlawful to exchange food-stamp benefits for cash. Vargas managed the former Eddie's Grocery on the 1500 block of Mount Ephraim Avenue in the city's Whitman Park section, officials said.