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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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FOOD
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.
NEWS
August 16, 2012 | BY MICHAEL HINKELMAN, Daily News Staff Writer
WHEN UNDERCOVER federal agents visited Aunty Florence's West African Market in Darby in 2010, they found the owner willing to illegally exchange food-stamp benefits for cash. Florence Kingsley, 59, of Darby, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to food-stamp fraud. A Liberian national, Kingsley fled her home country in 1992 amid a civil war and was given asylum here. In 2007, she opened a small food store and sold spices, fruits, vegetables and meats. The feds became suspicious of Kingsley after she sought monthly payment for authorized food-stamp sales greater than the annual $80,000 estimate she gave in a 2008 application to participate in the program.
NEWS
August 16, 2012 | BY MICHAEL HINKELMAN, Daily News Staff Writer
When undercover federal agents visited Aunty Florence's West African Market in Darby in 2010, they found the owner willing to illegally exchange food-stamp benefits for cash. Florence Kingsley, 59, of Darby, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal district court to food-stamp fraud. A Liberian national, Kingsley fled that country in 1992 amid a civil war and was given asylum here. In 2007, she opened a small food store and sold spices, fruits, vegetables and meats. The feds became suspicious of Kingsley after she sought monthly payment for authorized food-stamp sales greater than the annual $80,000 estimate she gave in a 2008 application to participate in the program.
NEWS
June 20, 2013
Whom does Congress listen to? The farm bill is a clue. It is chock full of subsidies benefiting special interests, but cuts funding to provide food stamps for poor people. The House this week began debating the bill, which over the next decade would cut $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Nearly two million people who rely on SNAP assistance to put food on the table would lose their benefits. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would make "unacceptable deep cuts" in the $80 billion-a-year program.
NEWS
January 19, 2011 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Hunger does not receive enough attention in the United States, where Americans "overuse the denial mechanism," believing the problem doesn't exist, a top U.S. Department of Agriculture official said Tuesday at Drexel University's School of Public Health. At the same time, increasing numbers of Americans are enrolling for food stamps, according to Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. "The nutritional safety net . . . has never been as urgently needed as it is now," Concannon concluded.
NEWS
November 15, 2011
With more poor families struggling to put food on the table, this isn't the time for the government to falter in combating poverty. So it's good to see that federal agencies are employing a new method of calculating who is poor. Until now, a 1964 formula was used to determine elgibility for federal assistance, which was based on how much a family was expected to spend for food. The new formula also considers a family's other expenses, including housing and medical care. Using the new formula, the Census Bureau calculates that 49.1 million, or about 16 percent of Americans, are poor, compared with 15 percent using the older calculation method.
NEWS
March 27, 2013
YOUR RECENT editorial criticizing the asset test for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) left out many of the facts and wrongly implied that Gov. Corbett has a vision of "lazy BMW-driving scamsters" using food stamps. Although there are undoubtedly many misperceptions about those who rely on human services, the SNAP program asset test throws them out the window. Instead, it uses hard data to assure taxpayers that their money is being used only by those most in need.
NEWS
January 12, 2012
Instead of encouraging the working poor to save, Pennsylvania welfare officials want to punish families for having a few dollars in a bank account. Beginning May 1, the state plans to make any food stamps the needy receive contingent on their assets. Anyone under 60 with more than $2,000 in savings and other assets will no longer be eligible. For people over 60, the limit would be $3,250. Houses, retirement benefits, and a single vehicle won't be counted as assets. The new formula means recipients must be virtually destitute to qualify for food assistance.
NEWS
August 1, 2012 | By Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press
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.
NEWS
November 18, 2009
U.S. AGRICULTURE Secretary Tom Vilsack called his department's annual report on American "food insecurity" this week a "wake-up call" to take the issue of hunger seriously. A "wake-up call. " Vilsack repeated it several times during a Monday news conference. But that phone's been ringing- unanswered - for years. The USDA report showed a steep increase in "food insecurity" - what it used to call "hunger" - in 2008, up 3.5 percent from 2007. More than 49.1 million Americans, 14.6 percent of the nation, are "food insecure.
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NEWS
July 31, 2014 | By E. J. Dionne, For The Inquirer
Paul Ryan is counting on this: Because he says he wants to preserve a safety net, speaks with concern about poor people, and put out a 73-page report, many will elide over the details of the proposals he made last week in his major antipoverty speech. The Wisconsin Republican congressman is certainly aware that one of the biggest political difficulties he and his conservative colleagues face is that many voters suspect them of having far more compassion for a wealthy person paying taxes than for a poor or middle-income person looking for a job. So Ryan gave a well-crafted address at the American Enterprise Institute in which the centerpiece sounded brand spanking new: the "Opportunity Grant.
NEWS
December 2, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
It's been a month since food-stamp benefits were cut throughout America for the first time in history. And though it's too soon for official numbers and analyses, the effect of the loss of nearly $300 million in benefits in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is evident across the region. "It's mind boggling how the area has so many people this hungry," said Joanne Castagna, director of the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Prospect Park, Delaware County. "We've seen an increase in people - maybe 20 percent - coming here because their food stamps have been cut and they didn't know where else to turn.
NEWS
November 27, 2013
IF YOU are so inclined, you can understand what recent cuts to the food stamp program means: Tomorrow, remove one vegetable and all the desserts from your Thanksgiving spread. Or, go to the grocery store, shop for your usual order, then put back $9 worth of items. That's the average weekly cut to the food stamp program that went into effect Nov. 1, which transpired when a temporary hike to cope with the 2008 recession lapsed and Congress neglected to extend it. Most of us could trim $9 from our shopping cart without too much pain, but those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
NEWS
November 2, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
At the stroke of midnight on Halloween, food-stamp benefits were cut throughout America for the first time in history. People woke up Friday in unknown territory, having to figure how the loss of $5 billion in benefits - the equivalent of 1.9 billion meals nationwide in fiscal 2014 alone - will play out on the kitchen tables of the 47 million Americans who get food stamps. "This is nothing short of catastrophic," said Bill Clark, executive director of Philabundance, the largest hunger-relief agency in the region.
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 12, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Life may get harsher and hungrier for nearly three million people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on Nov. 1, when food-stamp benefits will be cut overnight for the first time in U.S. history. It will mean 21 lost meals per month for a family of four - devastating arithmetic for families already living either on the edge or within the abyss of poverty, according to experts on food stamps, now called SNAP for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Why now? The federal stimulus of 2009 had temporarily boosted SNAP benefits to combat the recession.
NEWS
July 22, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
  For the first time in 40 years, Congress has decided to give subsidies to farmers - many of them rich - while offering nothing to fund the food-stamp program that experts believe keeps poor Americans from starving. The decision last week comes after conservative Republicans in the House blocked a bill that would have slashed $20 billion from the food-stamp budget, saying the cut was too small. The antipoverty community in Philadelphia and throughout the nation is convulsed with anger.
NEWS
July 19, 2013
AS A SYMBOL of the dysfunction of Congress - and of this country - you can't do much better than the steaming cowpie that is the farm bill. It's a complicated bill that is supposed to establish agricultural policy for the country every five years, but is seen by many to be a corporate-welfare program, providing price supports, loans and insurance subsidies, including hefty subsidies for cotton, sugar and peanut farmers and other big agribusiness....
NEWS
July 9, 2013
Pennsylvania and New Jersey should be ashamed to be among the worst states in the nation in meeting federal rules by getting food stamps to the needy within 30 days. Their bureaucratic delays create more hardships for families struggling to put food on the table. An Inquirer analysis found that New Jersey processes food-stamp applications within 30 days only about 74 percent of the time. Only Guam, Tennessee, Vermont, Hawaii, and Connecticut are worse. Pennsylvania ranked 39th on a list of 53, meeting the federal timeliness requirement only 81 percent of the time.
NEWS
June 27, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Already under scrutiny for taking too long to process unemployment checks and home-energy assistance claims, Pennsylvania is also too slow in approving food-stamp applications, compelling the federal government to order the state to improve its performance. Pennsylvania ranks among the worst in the nation for getting food stamps to the needy within 30 days, as required by federal law, according to an Inquirer examination of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the food-stamp program.
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