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Food Stamps

NEWS
October 24, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Corbett administration official said she is "rethinking" the food-stamp asset test, a controversial measure that ties the federal benefits people receive to their bank accounts and car ownership. Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth made the statement during a meeting with The Inquirer's editorial board Tuesday. Her remark represents a potential sea change in how the administration views dealing with the poor, advocates say. "We are thrilled," said Julie Zaebst, policy manager for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.
NEWS
October 14, 2013 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
The electronic system retailers use to process food stamps shut down Saturday, affecting shoppers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and 15 other states. Officials at Xerox, which runs the Electronic Benefits Transfer system, said it crashed during a routine test Saturday morning. The system lets retailers process Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Women, Infants and Children benefits from customers. The shutdown potentially affected hundreds of thousands of families across the region who buy food with EBT cards.
NEWS
October 4, 2013 | BY WENDY RUDERMAN, Daily News Staff Writer rudermw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5924
ON A RECENT sunny afternoon in Brewerytown, a white terry-cloth towel lay on the sidewalk, hiding the blood of an 18-year-old kid gunned down the night before. Along the narrow block, chalk circles drawn by homicide cops marked spots where the shell casings fell. A woman seated on a lawn chair on the sidewalk nearby looked up warily and called out, "You looking for a story?" She pointed out the cracked-open sunflower seeds, lots of them, scattered among the crime-scene chalk marks.
NEWS
October 3, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Edward Colimore, and Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writers
As parts of the U.S. government shut down Tuesday, thousands of federal workers in the area were furloughed, hikers were barred from Valley Forge trails, and tourists eager to view the icons of American freedom were compelled to photograph the Liberty Bell through thick glass. The 46,880 federal employees in the Philadelphia and Camden metropolitan areas were asked to report to work Tuesday, with many furloughed without pay by the afternoon. But confusion in some federal offices remained, as several workers still on the job were not sure whether they would be designated as essential and told to report to work Wednesday.
NEWS
October 1, 2013
Jason Greenslate has become America's most prominent public figure who favors a do-rag and surfing slang since Caleb "Kai" McGillvary, the hitchhiking Internet hero turned New Jersey murder suspect. Greenslate's transgressions are less criminal than culinary: Fox News' cameras captured him buying supermarket sushi and lobster (albeit "on special," he noted) with his food-stamp card. Greenslate, a San Diego-area surfer and aspiring rock star with no dependents or identifiable means of support, told Fox that the government's willingness to subsidize his meals is "radical," in the colloquial sense.
NEWS
September 27, 2013
PERHAPS one silver lining of the House of Representatives' massive cut to the federal food-stamp program last week is that the myth of the lazy, fancy-car-driving welfare queen is no longer operative. Instead, Republicans have created a new myth to illustrate their contempt for people receiving public benefits: garage-band-playing surfer dudes who get food stamps instead of looking for work. A single news account of one such lad in California named Jason Greenslate has become, in the hands of Eric Cantor and other conservative Republicans, a widespread problem of "young surfers who aren't working, but cash their food stamps in for lobster.
NEWS
September 22, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The vote by the House of Representatives on Thursday to slash billions from food stamps has rocked local advocates for the poor, who see the move as a potential blow to people already struggling to survive. At the same time, advocates praised four local Republican congressmen who bucked their party and voted against the cuts. And, during a lively day of reaction Friday, the majority of listeners to a popular Philadelphia-area radio show lauded the bill as the right thing to do. The House bill, which would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over 10 years, passed in the House, 217-210.
NEWS
September 20, 2013 | BY JAN RANSOM, Daily News Staff Writer ransomj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
A CITY COUNCIL committee approved legislation yesterday proposing an amendment to the city charter that would extend the city's living-wage requirements to subcontractors of city contracts and other firms receiving public money. The proposal, sponsored by Councilman Wilson Goode Jr., would require subcontractors to pay a minimum of $10.88 an hour, the rate set by the city in 2007 for direct contractors. Onetha McKnight told the committee that she works for a Nashville-based subcontractor as a wheelchair attendant at Philadelphia International Airport.
NEWS
September 20, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano and John Duchneskie, Inquirer Staff Writers
  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.
NEWS
August 19, 2013
It would be morally repugnant to allow food assistance to dry up at a time of heightened need. But a $5 billion boost in yearly food-stamp funding - added under the 2009 stimulus to help more Americans get enough to eat during the recession - is set to expire on Nov. 1. The loss would affect 1.8 million Pennsylvanians and 900,000 New Jerseyans. The reduction would cost a family of four 21 meals a month - "devastating arithmetic for families already living either on the edge or within the abyss of poverty," The Inquirer's Alfred Lubrano wrote.
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