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View Diary: No, food stamps don't cause obesity (206 comments)

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  •  I can't speak to 'family of 4' on Food Stamps (11+ / 0-)

    since it is not in my experience.  But even to say 'for a family of four' erroneously suggests that a standard  rate per number of people per household exists.  There is no one standard rate per 'household of #'.

    Calculations are made on each household's income vs standard deductible expenses per month, so one 'foursome' household''s Food Stamps would be different from the next.

    As a disabled elder singleton, after the change I am now receiving $.92 per meal.  Horace Boothroyd III posted his current figures in his Nov 1 diary '$21'; he now receives$.62 per meal, if you round up.

    Here's hoping that some actual '4-person households' will speak up here with their actual Food Stamp benefits and some info on how well that feeds their family.

    •  Food stamps are awarded on a sliding scale, and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick, bewild

      recipients are means-tested.  Most recipients are expected to pay for part of the allotted food budget.

      That said,

      Let's look at my original statement of $15 a day, for a family of four, which is $1.25 a meal.

      I've actually done much better for significant than that with careful shopping and use of leftovers, getting by on $10 a day, which is $0.83 a meal.

      There is one very important asterisk to apply: the per person cost of feeding a family is notably less than the cost per person cost of four people feeding themselves.  Not only do stores sell items in amounts geared for more than one person, but dealing with leftovers, preparation waste, etc is much easier when cooking for an entire family.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 04:43:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that requires things poor people don't always have (9+ / 0-)

        time to cook--the working poor often have multiple jobs and long commutes

        proper utensils to cook with--have you priced cookware lately?

        a kitchen stove--it's hard to cook on a hot plate, or living in those residential motels

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 05:19:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  some areas are more expensive than others (5+ / 0-)

        There is no cost of living adjustment.

        In my area, shopping at city supermarkets seems to be about 20-25% more expensive for many items than in the "burbs especially the not-rich burbs farther from the city.

      •  Found: Food Stamp info w example of family of 4 (2+ / 0-)

        Let's inject some reality into this discussion by going -- gasp! -- to the government's food stamp information pages.

        This is really quite helpful for me, because these pages have details I've been trying to pry out of my State's hands for years.

        1. The Eligibility page -- this page describes the allowable gross and net income levels, the standard deductions, then gives an example of calculating net income for a family of four.  It then gives tables showing Maximum Monthly Allotments for both the pre-and post-Nov 1 cuts.  It then takes our imaginary family of four and calculates their food stamp allotment based on pre-cut numbers ($324/mo).  There is other helpful info, such as employment requirements, definitions of 'disabled' and 'elderly', and so on.  A regular compendium on one page.

        Story Problem:  The imaginary family has several deductions.    They have $1,143.5 net monthly income. The current Maximum Family Allotment for 4 people is $632.

        The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment. This is because SNAP households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their resources on food.

        http://www.fns.usda.gov/...

        Net Income   $1.143.5 x .3 = 343.05

        Max Allotment $632 - 343.05 = 288.95/month for 4 people (round up for ease of calculation)

        $289/month times 12, divided by 365 = $9.50/day

        $9.50/ 4 people = $2.37/day/person
        $2.37/3 meals = .79 per meal per person

        These numbers look much more like realistic Food Stamp allotment numbers.

        Other very useful related pages are:

        A Food Stamp eligibility screening tool; you can enter in your own info and get and estimate of what you could receive.  
        http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/...

        A page leading to a pdf of Standard Utility Allowances:
        http://www.fns.usda.gov/...

        •  You are cheating in your numbers (0+ / 0-)

          The food stamp allotment assumes that the family will bear $340 of the cost, but you do not include the meal allotment.

          That $1143.50 in your net income has already been reduced from gross income by as much as half the cost of shelter (up to $478), and $163 for the standard deductions.

          If the income is earned income, 20% will have been deducted on the assumption that it costs money to work.

          If child care costs are incurred, those may also be deducted.

          In that light, it might not be so onerous to spend $340 out of pocket on food.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 10:15:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  'Cheating' is a strong word, and an insult, (0+ / 0-)

            therefore HR-worthy.

            This statement of yours --

            The food stamp allotment assumes that the family will bear $340 of the cost, but you do not include the meal allotment.
            -- is unclear to me, but I will address it to the best of my understanding.

            In your comment, you seem to be using the word 'allotment' to indicate the imaginary family's monthly food stamp amount plus an additional $340 (about 30% of net) you think they have available to spend.  That is not the definition of the term 'Food Stamp allotment', per the USDA's Food Stamp Eligibility page:

            http://www.fns.usda.gov/...

            The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment.

            Several other actual Food Stamp recipients (as well as my self) have made the point here that the very reason to apply for Food Stamps is because you already don't have money for food.  Whatever you or the government may think, people poor enough to need food stamps just do not generally have 30% of their income available for groceries.  

            My goal in the comment above, which draws so strongly on the Food Stamp Eligibility page, was to introduce fact-based calculations to show that the $15/day that you imagine a Food Stamp family of 4 has to work with is more than they would receive in Food Stamps..  The USDA's own figures have proved me right.

            In your accusation of 'cheating' you appear to be saying that I ignored deductions this imaginary family might claim, and so somehow falsified the numbers.  If you will look at the Food Stamp Eligibility page under the heading 'Income', you will see a worksheet in which several deductions have been made leading to the net income of $1.143.5 for this imaginary family.   I used this USDA number as the basis for my calculations (whereas you, in your most recent comment, gave rough estimates of deductions and did not include all the deductions the USDA page allows them, once again pulling numbers out of your hat.)

            In the Food Stamp Eligibility page's 'Benefits' section, tables are shown for the Maximum Monthly Benefit numbers -- amounts that a household with zero income (or with deductions zeroing out net income) might receive -- but in general people do not receive the Maximum.  The Maximum is used as a basis for calculating the Allotment, according to this formula:

            The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment.
            The Benefits Tables show both the pre-cut and the post- cut Maximums.  My calculations are based on the post-cut (ie, beginning Nov 1 2013) Maximum for a family of 4 ($632).  I have checked my calculations again, and unless you can point to specific math errors, they are correct.  The USDA's imaginary family of four's post-Nov 1 Food Stamp Allotment would be:

            Net Income   $1.143.5 x .3 = 343.05
            Max Allotment $632 - 343.05 = 288.95/month for 4 people (round up for ease of calculation)

            $289/month times 12, divided by 365 = $9.50/day

            $9.50/ 4 people = $2.37/day/person
            $2.37/3 meals = .79 per meal per person

            Just out of interest, let's look at what happened to the USDA's imaginary family when their Food Stamps Alllotment was cut on Nov 1.  Per the Eligibility page, based on the pre-cut Maximum of $688/month, they were receiving --

            $668 maximum allotment for 4 - $344 (30% of  
             net income) = $324, SNAP Allotment for a full month
            Pre-cut (to Oct 31) - - - - Post-cut (from Nov 1)
            $324/month . . . . . . . . . . . $289/month -- $35/month lost
            $10.65/day . . . . . . . . . . . . $9.40/day
            $2.66 person/day . . . . .  . $2.37/person/day
            $.89/person/meal . . . . .. . $.79 person/meal

            If I recollect your original assertion correctly, it went something to the effect of, 'since I used to feed my family of four on $10/day (having high-level skills and sufficient equipment), then a Food Stamp recipient should be able to do it today on $15/day.'  My first reply to you was that $15/day was far more than Food Stamps.  The USDA's own figures have confirmed my assertion.

            In your other comments, you have said that feeding your family of four on $10/day was hard work, and took a lot of time as well as very skilled application of your knowledge in a very disciplined way.  I believe that.  I also assume that you had adequate transportation, and I believe you mentioned adequate kitchen equipment.

            Please put yourself back into that time for a moment, as you've just completed another week's meal-planning and budgeting and have just figured out that you will be able to manage to feed your family for the rest of the month.  Now imagine that an Official Person walks in and says, 'Starting next month, you will have to feed your family on $35 less per month.'  You know that every dollar that is coming in is already spent, and there is no way to squeeze out any more money for food.

            A dime less per meal doesn't sound like much -- until you realize that adds up to ten day's worth of meals for the family that will have to come out of thin air.

            •  Ah -- I see your point of contention. (0+ / 0-)

              And yes, if you are making too much money to qualify for more, $10 a day certainly can be more than  food stamps will provide.  But be fair to me -- if you qualify for more, you can get more.  In fact, if you're broke enough you can get more than $20 a day to feed your family of four.  Your blanket statement is just plain wrong.

              As to my skills -- yes, and that is a very good point.
              Note that I said it can be done.  I never said it was easy.

              I think we make a horrible mistake if we don't help people learn how to shop better, to maximize nutrition on a budget, waste less, etc.  I was lucky to have learned some of it from my mother, but also went through a lot of trial and error along the way, and error costs money.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 05:33:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Please support your extraordinary claims (0+ / 0-)

                It is unclear to me how proving that your unsupported assertion of $15/day in Food Stamps is 'unfair' to you.

                This statement appears to be baseless and needs support --

                if you qualify for more, you can get more.
                A 4-person family with less income than the USDA's imaginary family might qualify for more -- if their deductions are high enough to allow for that.  Added medical expenses ( thus additional deductions) could increase a household's amount somewhat, but would also reduce any available cash.  The family situation of the USDA's family will change radically when their small children reach their teen years -- they will lose their substantial child care deduction, thus lowering their allotment while ravenous teenagers increase their food costs.

                Your statement may be another example of you mistaking your imagination for reality.  The USDA Eligibility page offers all the numbers you would need to run calculations to see if that statement holds water; or maybe you can find an example that supports your claim that 'if you qualify for more, you can get more'.  If you can't support such a statement, you should be more careful to frame your opinions as opinions, and you wishes a wishes; for example, the statement 'I would like to believe that if you qualify for more, you can get more' does not purport to represent fact.

                This is an extraordinary claim; prove it or rescind it, and please show your math --

                if you're broke enough you can get more than $20 a day [in Food Stamps] to feed your family of four.
                And what 'blanket statement' did I make that led you to this? --
                Your blanket statement is just plain wrong.
                -- Please spell out the 'blanket statement' you claim I made, and spell out the way(s) in which you think I'm wrong.
                •  I will never be able to prove anything to you. (0+ / 0-)

                  So it's time to let this charade come to an end.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 06:57:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Using facts might help you prove something (0+ / 0-)

                    although you seem to prefer repeating your favored opinion over and over again, more loudly each time, in hopes that will convince someone.

                    It is, however, surprisingly gracious of you to confess that, in this discussion, you have been playing a 'charade', not arguing in good faith from the facts.

                    On the bright side, however, you now have many more facts about Food Stamp Allotments at your disposal than you did before this discussion began.  You may even want to go back to the link to the USDA's Food Stamp Eligibility Tool link I provided several comments above, and enter the data from the time that you had to endure the hardship of feeding your family of 4 on a meager $10/day.  You might find it conducive to a thoughtful review of your attitudes.

                    Since I have been focusing on facts in this discussion, I have not yet spoken to you about your troubling attitude, expressed in comments like this --

                    I think we make a horrible mistake if we don't help people learn how to shop better, to maximize nutrition on a budget, waste less, etc.
                    Those of us who actually struggle with poverty recognize that kind of statement as a form of poor-bashing which wraps the 'stupid/lazy' meme in a cloak of concern-trolling.  This kind of statement is a kind of bigotry.  I hope you will clear such statements from your vocabulary.
              •  Your $20/day claim previously rebutted (0+ / 0-)

                After writing my first response to this comment ( http://www.dailykos.com/... ), I found myself puzzling over the question 'Didn't I already address this $20/ Food Stamp claim?' And the fact is, I had already addressed it, twice.

                To track my previous responses to your extraordinary claim, we will have to go back to the beginning of this discussion, then return to very near the end.

                You introduced your 'feed a family of 4 for $15/day' concept here --

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                I replied (with Title only) saying that $15/day was much more than Food Stamp recipients receive.  User 'malcolm' popped in to say --

                . .  the old rate for a family of for was $668 a month, minus a $34 cut as of now, makes $634 a month = approx $21 a day.

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                I replied, telling malcolm that there was no one set rate for a family of any number because --
                Calculations are made on each household's income vs standard deductible expenses per month, so one 'foursome' household''s Food Stamps would be different from the next.

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                (Note that I had not found the Food Stamp Eligibility page at this point.  But as that page makes clear, 'malcolm' was using the full amount Maximum Monthly Allotment as the basis for his claim of '$21/month'.)

                You then re-entered the discussion with your $15/day assertion and received many replies from actual Food Stamp recipients who were attempting to describe reality to you.

                Later, I found the Food Stamp Eligibility page and used its figures for a family of 4 to show that the USDA's imaginary family would receive $9.50/day.  You replied by saying I was "cheating in my numbers".  ( http://www.dailykos.com/... and ff)

                In my reply titled ' 'Cheating' is a strong word . . ..', I wrote:

                In the Food Stamp Eligibility page's 'Benefits' section, tables are shown for the Maximum Monthly Benefit numbers -- amounts that a household with zero income (or with deductions zeroing out net income) might receive -- but in general people do not receive the Maximum.  The Maximum is used as a basis for calculating the Allotment . . ..

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                You then 'doubled down' and raised your $15/day assertion to 'more than $20 a day'as an available Food Stamp Allotment --
                In fact, if you're broke enough you can get more than $20 a day to feed your family of four.

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                This statement of yours brings your argument back to your supporter 'malcolm's original '$21' statement; both of these 'over $20/day in Food Stamps' statements are based on a misrepresentation of the Maximum Monthly Allotment as an actual amount a family might receive, rather than a kind of 'placeholder' number for use in calculations. The only way a family of 4 could receive $20/day in Food Stamps is if they had " zero income (or with deductions zeroing out net income)"; only in this way could they receive the full Maximum of $324 or $21.77/day.

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