• February 25, 2017

Food stamp benefits cut for 47 million Americans

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Posted: Saturday, November 2, 2013 4:30 am

WASHINGTON — Some 47 million poor Americans who rely on food stamps for their meals will have to get by on less, after their benefits were cut Friday.

“The impoverished are forced to eat junk if we want to eat,” said 32-year-old Tabitha, a mother of a 2- and 7-year-old staying at a Culver City, Calif., shelter, who asked her last name not be used to save embarrassment. “It’s going to be difficult, as it already has been. I don’t understand why there’s all this government funding, all these programs, and why feeding down-and-out people is not as important as it should be.”

The cut was triggered by the expiration of stimulus spending Congress approved in the depths of the Great Recession. But it is unlikely to be the last; in Washington, the House and Senate are trying to reconcile measures each approved that would reduce food stamp spending by billions of dollars more.

Friday’s benefit reduction was meant to be timed to a brightening economy, yet many Americans remain stuck in poverty despite improvements from the worst of the recession.

“I think it’s a horrible thing,” said Najuah Mudahy, 30, also of the Culver City shelter, a food stamp recipient who works two jobs, as a clerk at a shoe store and a hostess at California Pizza Kitchen. They bring in $9 an hour. Mudahy said she runs out of money to keep her 3-year-old daughter fed before the end of every month, even on dinners of canned soup.

“It only forces people to do desperate things,” she said of the cuts.

Food advocates said there are millions of others in similar predicaments and implored Congress to stop seizing on the program for budget trims.

Even before Friday, government statistics show, the benefit fell short of keeping those on food stamps well nourished. In California, the monthly allocation for a family of four with no income has now dropped to $632. The benefit varies around the country, based on the cost of living.

About 14 percent of all Americans are on food stamps. The program has grown rapidly in recent years, attracting the attention of deficit hawks, who note it now costs taxpayers $75 billion a year.

The legislation approved by the Republican House could lead to nearly 2 million Americans losing access to the program, according to congressional analysts.

The cut approved by the Democrat-controlled Senate would be much smaller, reducing the program by $4 billion over the next 10 years as compared to the $40 billion cut approved by the House.

Obama administration officials said the reductions that went into place Friday are certain to result in missed meals for those enrolled. There are 7 million Americans for whom food stamps is their only source of income, according to Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The cut “is a huge challenge for those households,” he said. Local food banks, Concannon said, are not positioned to serve as backstops.

“It would be like asking someone running a marathon with a 100-pound pack on their back to take on another couple hundred pounds,” he said. “They don’t have the capacity to do this.”

In Texas, about 4 million people receive food stamps each month, a dramatic increase from 2.5 million five years ago. The latest cuts will drain $411 million from the state economy, said Celia Cole, CEO of the Austin-based Texas Food Bank Network.

“That’s a big hit for the state,” she said. While many Texans have bounced back from the recession, she said, “the number of people living in poverty has not changed — things haven’t gotten better for them yet.”

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  • MamaLenore posted at 12:41 pm on Mon, Nov 18, 2013.

    MamaLenore Posts: 12

    Amazing how people think cuts should be made to Veterans benefits but not to welfare recipients. Veterans earned what they get can't say the same for Welfare Recipients.

  • MamaLenore posted at 12:38 pm on Mon, Nov 18, 2013.

    MamaLenore Posts: 12

    WTH ever... I work a great job and barely have enough to feed my family. But because I have an education and great work ethics and a decent job I don't qualify for Food Stamps. As mentioned here:

    “I think it’s a horrible thing,” said Najuah Mudahy, 30, also of the Culver City shelter, a food stamp recipient who works two jobs, as a clerk at a shoe store and a hostess at California Pizza Kitchen. They bring in $9 an hour. Mudahy said she runs out of money to keep her 3-year-old daughter fed before the end of every month, even on dinners of canned soup

    You live in a shelter not paid by you, work two jobs making 9 dollars an hours and only have one child. How could you run out of money and need assistance? A can of soup by the end of the month. What are you using your money for?

    I say cut the Food Stamp program and force people to get on their feet like the rest of working America. Users get to relaxed with being handed everything why would they get up and work. I see everyday McDonalds, Pizza Hut, gas stations and other places hiring. But that requires people to put forth an effort to succeed so they don't work.

  • Fran posted at 7:50 pm on Sat, Nov 2, 2013.

    Fran Posts: 76

    I remember when the President said early in his first term years ago, that his top
    priority was getting people to work... since his policies and radical changes to the economy including government takeover of General Motors, Healthcare and hidden inflation have not worked, so neither did his promise to get people to work. Obamacare
    has caused working people to loose hours. How about that hidden inflation that has been in effect since he took over...remember what the price of gasoline was when he took office? As the price of fuel went up, prices of everything went up and despite the
    price of gasoline going down lately due to lack of demand, the prices at the stores do not get ratcheted downward. People are too numbed down to remember and yes many
    were dumbed down when they voted for this change... the young people today who were mesmerized by his campaign are the most hurt by his policies...they will never have the chance to grow up in a prosperous America because of all the debt saddling and total control he and the demoncrats pushed on us. Too bad for the cuts in freebees, like food stamps. Didn't anyone ever tell you that nothing in life was free?

  • Dr Strangelove posted at 11:10 am on Sat, Nov 2, 2013.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 1194

    BOO HOO when will you AMERICAN food stamp recipients and bleeding heart liberals start complaining about illegal aliens on food stamps. Did you notice there is no mention of them in the article?