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View Diary: House ready to make draconian cuts to food stamps in Farm Bill (116 comments)

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  •  You're allowed to own a car and a house (6+ / 0-)

    and still be eligible for SNAP. If you've been told otherwise, you were lied to. If that's all the income you have per month, you're eligible for SNAP. If your check is SSI, you're categorically eligible. SNAP is a federal program and is the same from state to state. The only things that would make you ineligible is if your resources (bank accounts, etc.) exceed $2,000, or if you're in a household with people whose income exceeds the limit. You can get around that if you provide a letter that states that you "purchase and prepare separately."

    •  My parents' farm truck, which was broken, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pariah Dog

      was counted against them, in Texas, in the middle 1990s.
      They were told to fix or sell it. Nobody said one damn word about the money to fix it with.

      The system is designed to screw people over every possible fashion, and I blame St. Ronnie of the Raygun and all his anointed apostles thereafter. May they rot in a special ring of hell.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 03:47:36 PM PDT

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      •  The system really isn't designed to screw (0+ / 0-)

        people over. If Congress didn't think it was important to supplement people's food budget, they wouldn't have created it. Like the "IRS scandal," it comes down to people. Some people who work for the welfare dept are either uninformed or just mean. And lots of people who apply for benefits feel embarrassed, and are unwilling to challenge what they're told. But like I tell my daughter and SIL, if you're not happy with the person you're dealing with, ask to speak to their boss.

        •  I did. Had with me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fairlithe, socindemsclothing

          the last receipt for registration (more than 10 years in the past) and an estimate for the repairs (broken crankshaft = 2x the value of the truck, or a little more, which was not available money; what I neglected to do was call a scrap dealer for the value of the truck weighed out, which the supervisor did. Turned out less than a month's worth of food stamps).

          Thereafter, my parents dealt exclusively with that lady.
          My parents, you see, spoke no Spanish. This was counted, in a West Texas office, as proof one or both of them was lying about lack of money, by the "eligibility specialist."

          Pissed me right the fuck off, and I was not shy about saying so, in English and in Spanish (Castilian first, then ... vernacular) -- using almost exactly the same terms I had used for the "hospital staff" who put 55-gallon trash barrels in my mother's hospital room a few months earlier, while she recovered from a cracked pelvic bone after a fall.

          Tell me I'm prejudiced, and I'll agree with you -- against stupidity, laziness, bigotry, arrogance and lack of giving a damn about the job you do or the customers you do it for, regardless of your sex, the color of your skin or your mother tongue, never mind your excuse for religion -- behave like a jerk and I'll call you out for the jerk you are.

          LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 05:04:16 PM PDT

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    •  Oh I know (0+ / 0-)

      You're allowed to own a car. That's what I was saying. Even under the biggest assholes of the Asshole party you could own a car and still be eligible for food stamps. This bill, however, proposes to eliminate that. How they expect people to get to job training or actual low pay jobs is a mystery. PFM perhaps.

      But speaking of categorical eligibility, that's the biggest part of this bill. They want to eliminate that entirely because - - in their tiny minds - it's what's caused to program to explode out of control!

      That too is bullshit, but few will labor to examine the nature of its bullshittedness.

      There's another aspect to this that wasn't mentioned in the diary - and probably won't get much mention anywhere else either. Come November there's an across the board cut coming because some stimulus increase is expiring.

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Wed May 15, 2013 at 04:48:58 PM PDT

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      •  A car that has a relatively 'low value,' that is. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Other than a tremendous raise in the FPL (Federal Poverty Level), there should be a 'huge' increase regarding the so-called 'asset test.'

        Heard a legal aid attorney say that the 'asset test' has not been raised since 1989, for Pete's Sake!  

        Folks need to raise heck about these cuts.  Frankly, I am convinced that they will not stop.

        I know a man who receives a LIHEAP energy bill subsidy.  From what he says, the LIHEAP program does NOT have an asset test.  It is (or was) strictly 'income based.'

        That is the REAL REASON that they are wanting to disqualify folks who qualify for it, from qualifying for 'food stamps.'  The SNAP program has strict asset guidelines.

        IMO, even if you have a decent house and/or automobile, if you're living within the pathetic parameters of our FPL, you should be eligible for the SNAP program.

        And from what I've read and heard on C-Span, SNAP insufficient, at best.  (Though clearly better than nothing.)  

        I actually heard a SNAP official admit on C-Span's Washington Journal that the benefit could be as low as $10 a month!  That was several years ago, anyway.

        But, I'm not surprised, since it seems that the progressive community at large, has all but abandoned this issue on a national scale (that I can tell).

        It appears that the Democratic Party has pretty much jumped on the bandwagon that agrees that 'charities' and 'churches' should take care of many of the needs of the less fortunate, in our society.  

        Which has probably made it much easier for Dem politicians to constantly aim their messages to 'middle class' folks (and higher), to the exclusion of lower income folks, much less the poor.

        The only way to change this, is to vote in real progressive Dems--not facsimiles thereof.  ;-)


        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


        by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 05:40:06 PM PDT

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        •  When I worked at the welfare office (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          (last day: 12/31/95) the value of the car was considered. After welfare reform was passed (1996), the food stamp program allowed for one car, regardless of its value. If there were other cars, they were lumped in with other resources. IIRC, total resource limit was $2,000. When a family is poor enough to qualify financially, it's a rare occasion when their resources exceed the limit.

          •  HappyinNM, thanks. I'll post the info on the 'car (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            value' below.


            In some cases, cars may be considered countable resources, but there are plenty of exemptions.

            Vehicles are not countable resources if they are "used for income-producing purposes, needed for long-distance travel for work (other than daily commute), used as the home, needed to transport a physically disabled household member, needed to carry most of the household's fuel or water, or if the household has little equity in the vehicle (because of money owed, it would bring no more than $1,500 if sold), according to the USDA.

            Families are allowed to have one vehicle for each adult in the house and for each driver under 18 who uses a vehicle to get to school, work or a job training program.

            But when these vehicles exceed $4,650 in value, the excess is considered a countable resource.

            Like almost all of our safety net, I suppose they've been chiseling away at this benefit, too. ;-)

            Actually, in my line of work, I also dealt with a number of folks who would have qualified for SNAP and other public assistance programs, except that they had just a little too much money in the bank (and often it was from a small inheritance).

            IOW, they had no income but a tiny social security check that met the 'income test,' but had too much in cash assets.  Often it was by just a very few hundred, or several thousand dollars.

            I'm not saying that it was not within the SNAP program regulations to not process them for Food Stamp assistance, just that I think that it is ridiculous to set the 'cash asset' requirement that low.

            The man that I mentioned who receives LIHEAP receives just several dollars too much per month (his ONLY income is Social Security) to qualify for Food Stamps, at today's standard.  And because he inherited several thousand dollars when his Mother died, he wouldn't have met the cash asset test, either.

            Which is one reason that the excuse offered by both Dems and Repubs, makes no sense in regard to closing the 'loopholes' that allow folks to qualify.

            Qualifying for LIHEAP could not possibly qualify an individual for SNAP, since there is no asset test for LIHEAP [and there is for SNAP].

            Hope that clarifies what I was trying to communicate.


            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


            by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:36:46 PM PDT

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            •  When the only income is "unearned" like (0+ / 0-)

              Social Security, there are no allowable deductions as there are with earned income. LIHEAP is a totally different program. The amount given to the states is a finite number. When a state runs out of that fund for the year, that's it. SNAP is an entitlement program, meaning that if a person qualifies, they receive benefits. The reason resources are considered (particularly liquid ones) is obvious. While we would all like to have our own personal safety net, the government thinks we ought to spend down our own money before asking for assistance. Personally, I don't think that's unreasonable. I once had a hearing with a man who had just purchase a brandy new truck. He figured he could afford it because he didn't have to pay for food for himself and his family. He couldn't understand why his truck made him ineligible for food stamps. Everyone in that room wanted so badly to tell him that selling the truck was the easy remedy. From what you quoted, it seems that the regulations for vehicles has changed once again.

              •  Well, not sure what your reference to 'unearned' (0+ / 0-)

                income refers to.  But yes, I understand the LIHEAP program is a grant program.  You may recall, it was 'cut' during one of the earlier 'faux' fiscal crisis.

                My only point was that it is not a 'means tested' program.  It is based upon an applicant's income, but is not 'asset tested.'  Or at least, that is what I've been told.

                BTW, I'm certainly not for having no asset test at all. Simply meant to say that the 1989 test of $2,000/Individual and $3,000/Couple seem ridiculously low for today.

                Some time ago had to research the safety nets in other OECD countries.

                Our social insurance programs are pathetic in comparison.

                The state pension program in many countries have replacement rates of up to 70 and 80 percent.

                According to Ms Janice Gregory (in 2010), she was the President of NASI at that time:

                Today's (this was in 2010) Social Security 'replacement rate' is 39% at age 65, AFTER paying one's Medicare Premium.

                And, that by 2030, the Social Security 'replacement rate' will be only 32%.

                And that does not even count the taxing of Social Security benefits (which may not apply to all Social Security beneficiaries--I'm not sure).

                We are grateful to both have good retirements (both defined benefit plans and 401Ks)--especially if they don't manage to destroy Social Security and Medicare, before we're old enough to apply.

                Because of all the 'tinkering' (LOL!) with Social Security, I plan to file for Early Retirement Benefits, even though I won't need the money to live on (at that point).

                Anyway, thanks for the interesting conversation.


                "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


                by musiccitymollie on Thu May 16, 2013 at 01:08:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I love it when progressives sound just like (0+ / 0-)

                conservatives.  It just goes to show you how incredibly effective the GOP propaganda machine is that their reach extends into the deepest recesses of left-wing thinking.  

                People aren't entitled to reliable transportation!  They should be forced to purchase cheap clunkers that will sop up every spare dollar in expensive repair after expensive repair.  Ask me how well that works out in the long run, when you have a $5,000 budget for a used car and end up having to replace the engine in two years, and this after throwing money at a string of incidental repairs.  It would have been far more prudent to finance a newer, more reliable mode of transportation, but with people like you lining up to cheer on GOP policies that wage war on the financially disadvantaged, people like me will never be able to make the prudent decision.  

                Bless.  You.

                Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. -George Carlin

                -7.88, -7.64

                by socindemsclothing on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:15:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thank you, sidc! You've expressed the point that (0+ / 0-)

                  I was trying to make, better than I did.

                  It does not make any sense at all, to impose as you suggest, that lower income folks be consigned to driving 'clunkers.'  From a practical standpoint, they will continue to have a hard time 'getting ahead,' or even treading water, if they have such old and unreliable (cheap!) transportation that they are constantly saddled with unaffordable car repair bills!

                  I'd have to say that if an individual drove a new Mercedes, they should probably be expected to 'spend down' to a more 'average' vehicle.  But the idea that an individual can't have a newer and very decent vehicle is ridiculous, IMO.

                  This rule or regulation reminds me of how some conservatives would severely restrict the actual 'foods' that can be purchased by Food Stamps.  And I'm not talking about restrictions such as hard liquor, or something, either.

                  Some bills would outlaw any 'sweets,' etc.  So, I'd have to ask, "Does that mean that the 5-year-old of a very poor person should not be allowed to have a Betty Crocker cake on their birthday?"

                  I mean, c'mon.  How heartless and authoritarian can you get?


                  "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


                  by musiccitymollie on Mon May 20, 2013 at 12:34:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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