via OUR TIME
Text: When the job ended…and he left…she stayed and used her small welfare check to make sure her kids grew up safe, healthy, and strong. Who exactly are you calling a welfare queen?
This is a story way more common than the myth. Except maybe the safe & healthy isn’t always the outcome.
Post title from this song:
No, not an actual quote from Paul. At least not publicly.
This video is a social experiment conducted by The Pillion Trust Charity.
I was way ahead of the punchline. I see this every single day.
“We knew you cared. Please care enough to give.https://www.justgiving.com/piliontrust/“
Not that everyone CAN give but hey, pennies add up and nearly everyone has spare change.
Speaking of pennies…
It’s a memorial to aborted fetuses. Huh. I don’t think you can really call yourself pro-life (hence, my term anti-choice) if you hoard pennies as symbolism instead of using that $500K to help struggling families who have children living on this planet.
People are strange.
Ok, now back to Paul Ryan. I keep hoping he’ll just go away. Instead, he proposes budgets that cut everything that ever helped a low income America living in poverty, and to get out of poverty. If made into law, it would cut $5.1 trillion from safety net and social welfare programs, like Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, college grants, medical research….
He does so out of love,you guys! This is how the poor will be elevated out of poverty. Don’t worry about the lack of logic behind it. Trust him. It’s all for your own good.
Yeah, I think he really needs to go away now.
(I know,I know…I was supposed to clean up my language for this blog. Allow me one cursing post per week. That’s all I need)
It’s only 9 days into the brand new year and I have questions.
My end of 2013 blog stats told me that What Can and Can’t Be Bought With Food Stamps was the most viewed of the past year. I think I only a lot of those views to Upworthy (thank you so much for your support, Brandon) but it’s more than that.
I’m betting the searches for alcohol came from people trying to debunk that myth (I say this because people have told me in the past that’s why they shared that link) but the other searches…. do these people not have caseworkers and a support system at their DSS to answer these questions?
I have limited personal experiences with caseworkers. I lived in a neighboring county for awhile and being on food stamps was awful in that county. Caseworkers seemed to kinda like it when they made you cry and it was nearly impossible to get real assistance or answers. In the county we live in now, the caseworkers are awesome. They return all your calls in a short time and if you pop in to the office ,someone will generally be able to take time to see you.Also, in this county they have budgeting,cooking ,and meal planning workshops. I used to teach these,so I haven’t felt like I have a real reason to attend them …except for maybe the purposes for blogging material. (us writers are weird like that)
So, I’m wondering …how common is my former experience?
If you’re receiving assistance ( SNAP or TANF) or have in the past, what was your experience with case workers? Were you giving all the information you needed or did you feel like you had a lot of unanswered questions.
Because I realize not everyone wants to comment publicly on something like this, I’ve included a comment for that will go straight to my email. Public comments can still be left by scrolling to the bottom. It would be great if you could also include the state you live in.
Also, I’m long overdue for a commenting policy here but just a reminder: when I ask for welfare/food stamp recipient’s experiences, that’s who I am asking. It’s not an invitation for someone to explain all the reasons they don’t think people should get food stamps or why the program is bad or any other derailing commentary.
This week, the Mean People who suck are also providing some comedy. Maybe it’s just me but I can’t help but laugh. It turns out that a lot of the time, mean people are also pretty stupid …or at least do some stupid stuff.
So,there’s this guy…Tom Brower…he’s a state rep from Hawaii. He’s solving the homelessness problem by bashing shopping carts with a sledgehammer.
Excuse the geek moment here but I immediately thought of Captain Hammer from Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
Tom Brower is more like Captain Pointless,though. He walks around Honolulu looking for shopping carts that he identifies as one homeless people have been using and smashes the wheels in with a hammer. Then piles them up so the city’s garbage trucks can come pick the up and haul them away to the dump. What a good use of public resources and a friend to the environment.
You have a huge homeless problem in your city and the logical way to deal with it is this instead of advocating for programs that actually help homeless people not be homeless anymore? All righty then. Makes so much sense.
He says he returns carts he can identify to the store they came from but it must be that he can’t read or his store locator app doesn’t work so he can’t figure out where to return all of them to because in this video, the cart he smashes is clearly identifiable.
Whatever. He’s a tool.
And just so I can continue in the vein of Dr Horrible….
These rich people said the homeless have it easy and you shouldn’t give them money because you’re enabling them.
Then there’s this guy.
It’s cool if you do coke and your paycheck comes from taxpayer money as long as you’re not on welfare.
Now might be a good time to point out that Florida’s drug testing for SNAP recipients was a giant waste of money and pretty much everyone’s time. The state lost $45,780 and the end result was about 2.5% testing positive, mostly for marijuana.
(and that’s about the same result coming out of every other state trying this out)
And finally this week, shout out to the Walmart in Canton, Ohio for getting in to the holiday spirit by collecting donations for their own poorly paid employees so they can have a nice Thanksgiving Day dinner. Well, for those employees who don’t have to work on Thanksgiving, I guess.
The further insulting irony here is that a lot of those employees are on SNAP and just had their SNAP allowance reduced this month. Walmart is already one of the biggest beneficiaries of the SNAP program and the most recent SNAP cuts will probably increase that trend.
Infographic source unknown. Someone sent it to me from Pinterest.
This infographic is a good rough guide to what you can and can’t buy with SNAP.
I have a huge gripe with the way some states or counties in parts of the U.S. work with their clients. The most frequent search terms on my other blog where I started blogging about SNAP is questions about what people can buy with their food stamps.
This should be a caseworker’s job, not a blogger on the Internet. I am very happy to provide the information but from what I understand ,there are food stamp recipients who never even see a caseworker or the only info they’re given about purchasing things is ,”You can’t buy cigarettes and alcohol.” Well, no duh.
Based on my most frequent search queries, here is a list of things people wondered about that you CAN buy with food stamps:
- baking soda
- vinegar, all kinds
- coconut oil
- any cooking oil,including olive oil
- seeds …EXCEPT sunflower seeds, unless they are packaged and ready to eat.
- plants that produce food and potted herbs
Here are specific items you CANNOT buy:
- toilet paper
- tampons or pads
- tooth paste
- diapers, cloth or disposable
- bakery goods
- cooking utensils or small kitchen appliances
- pots and pans
Yes, it’s totally true that you CAN buy bows and arrows in Alaska but not live animals. Like lobster. You can’t buy a live lobster to cook…or chickens ,if you were to want to raise them yourself.
Since we’re talking about what can and can’t be bought using an EBT card, I want to clear up some things for those who are misinformed.
Nobody is given paper food stamps anymore. Everyone who receives food stamp benefits gets a card. An EBT card. Electronic Benefits Transfer card. It works like a debit card.
EBT cards are also given to people who receive cash welfare benefits. Some people who get food stamps also receive cash benefits but just to clear up a misconception... it’s very hard to get cash assistance . Because of the Work to Welfare program and other reformation of the system, once someone is approved for cash assistance, they must either enroll in school or job training, or prove that they are job searching, unless they are disabled. Most states have a limited time or a cash cap limit that you can receive while looking for a job. They will also place people in jobs, basically at a just above minimum wage rate for as many hours as comparable to the amount of cash assistance they get. If they don’t go to work or school, they lose the assistance. Once they’re earning money, they also lose the cash assistance. It’s a temporary assistance program, which is why it’s called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It’s that simple.
In some states, the EBT card cannot be used at a register in a store for non-food stamp items. The recipient has to go to an ATM or a store office and withdrawl cash. In some states, it can be used right at the register, which I’m guessing is causing confusion to nosy people who stand in line behind other people in line, checking out what kind of card it being used to pay for groceries.
Also, it’s important to put out there : Some states put a single mother’s child support money into the account attached to their EBT card if she’s also eligible for food stamps. So, the state isn’t being the baby-daddy there. The actual contributor of DNA paid his child support and that’s how the state is giving her that money.
All those stupid memes online about beer,tattoos,cigarettes being bought with EBT….
I’m not going to say that no one buys those things with their cash benefits but if you pay attention to how those ridiculous things are worded, they are completely fabricated . “Today I saw a woman in line paying w/ food stamps blahblahblah…IPHONEblahblahblahLEXUSblahblahPOTATOCHIPSANDSODA!”
No, you didn’t. You want people to get riled up and start a shit storm on your page or tumblr.
97% of the time, I guarantee it.
Or I’m only person in the store,minding my own business and thinking about the stuff in my own cart. If someone has time to cart judge, they need a constructive hobby. Go volunteer and the local food bank or something.
I talked a little bit about Paul Ryan’s “War on Poverty” hearings here and the lack of real knowledge of poverty represented. Melissa Harris -Perry addresses exactly that and his committee’s refusal to allow Tianna Gaines-Turner to testify about her firsthand knowledge of poverty. You can read her written testimony here.
Last week on this show, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee said she would ask the House Budget Committee chair to invite our guest, Tianna Gaines-Turner, to testify about anti-poverty programs. Tianna is a “Witness to Hunger” and a married mother of three who receives food stamps and other federal benefits to help make ends meet.
But the Republican chairman of the committee refused to have Tianna at his “war on poverty” hearing. My letter this week is to that chairman, Congressman Paul Ryan.
Dear Congressman Ryan,
It’s me, Melissa.
Look, it’s great that you had a hearing on poverty. That you asked whether we’ve made any progress in the “war on poverty” in the past 50 years. I’m glad you had four experts on poverty programs, including our favorite nun-on-the-bus, Sister Simone Campbell.
But you know what would have been a hell of a lot better? If you heard from someone who’s actually living in poverty! Someone who’s working, and still struggling to feed and clothe her children, and to afford health care. Here’s the kind of thing you may have heard from Tianna,describing her life on our show in May:
“Food insecurity is not just a depression or a stress for an adult. It’s very much on the minds of young children every day. And I don’t understand how people can sit and sleep, knowing there’s a child somewhere, 8 years old, 4 years old, worrying about, is my mom gonna eat?”
You had the chance to hear her, Congressman Ryan. But you refused, only allowing Representative Barbara Lee to enter Tianna’s written comments into the record. Would things have been different if she was there? Would you have been able to look Tianna in the eye while telling her that you care about the poor?
At the start of the hearing, you said you want to find ways to lift people out of poverty. You said:
“This is about improving people’s lives. In this country, the condition of your birth shouldn’t determine the outcome of your life. If you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead. That’s something we all believe in. That’s something we all care about.”
But your budget proposals paint a very different picture. Your so-called “Path to Prosperity” budget would cut $135 billion from SNAP. You know, the food stamp program that helps feed 22 million American households a month. Let’s put that in perspective. That’s more than six times the amount House Republicans proposed cutting in their farm bill this earlier year.
Even that much smaller cut–$20.5 billion, to your $135 billion–would be devastating to American families.
According to a new study by the Health Impact Project, the (comparatively small!) $20.5 billion cut could result in 5.1 million people losing their food stamps, including more than one million children. Hundreds of thousands of Americans would go hungry. Is that something that we all believe in, congressman?
The study also found that the SNAP cuts in the farm bill–again, a tiny fraction of the cuts youwant–would increase the poverty rate. Not exactly lifting people out of poverty. And that an increase in hunger and poverty would lede directly to an increase in diseases like diabetes and heart disease in adults, and asthma and cognitive impairment in children.
Tell me, congressman, how exactly that’s “improving people’s lives.” And your plan doesn’t even save any money! The increase in diabetes alone could cost $15 billion more in health costs over the next decade. And the impact from the cuts you want, Congressman Ryan–it would be six times worse.
Could you look Tianna Gaines-Turner in the eye and say you want to improve her life, while taking away the means to feed her family? Could you keep a straight face? Since you refused to allow her at your poverty hearing, I’m guessing not.