Should Food Stamp Recipients have to work?
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default Should Food Stamp Recipients have to work?

    Should "able-bodied adults" between 18 and 49 years old who have no dependents be required to work or at least prove that they are looking for a job to receive Food Stamps?


    A new government study found that the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps nearly doubled after Washington used the stimulus law to lift a key work requirement.

    The report from the Congressional Research Service was sent last week to House Republican Leader Eric Cantor. It comes as House Republicans prepare Thursday to try and block a separate work requirement waiver being sought by the Obama administration for welfare recipients.

    The CRS study dealt with the work requirement for a particular class of food-stamp recipients -- "able-bodied adults" between 18 and 49 years old who have no dependents. Typically the food stamp program requires that group to work or participate in a training program at least 20 hours a week to continue receiving benefits after three months. The stimulus law, though, allowed states to suspend the rule from April 2009 to October 2010 -- and most states did.

    In that time, the number in that group surged.

    The CRS study showed that in fiscal 2010, the last year for which data was available, the number of food-stamp recipients in that group was at nearly 3.9 million. That's up from 1.9 million in 2008.

    Though food-stamp enrollment was already rising at the time in part due to the recession, the study noted the number in this group "increased more rapidly than the overall caseload."

    Their percentage of that caseload grew from 6.9 percent in 2008 to 9.7 percent in 2010.

    The total number of people on food stamps -- formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- has grown to 47 million this year, with the "able-bodied" group making up just a fraction of that.

    The findings of the CRS, report, though, feed Republican concerns that lifting work requirements can encourage benefit recipients to simply stay in the programs.

    The separate proposed change in the work requirement for welfare was announced in July by the Department of Health and Human Services. The department said the states may seek a waiver from the work component in order to "test alternative and innovative strategies, policies and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families."

    HHS stressed that any alternative should still aim to get welfare recipients into gainful employment. Any plan that "appears substantially likely to reduce access to assistance or employment for needy families," will not be approved, the memo said.

    But Republicans accused the administration of going too far, claiming the move would "gut" the work requirement from the landmark Clinton-era welfare reform package.

    The latest CRS report noted that while the stimulus law lifted the food stamp work requirement until late 2010, the law allowing extended unemployment benefits likewise allowed most states to waive those work requirements in 2011 and 2012. Statistics were not available, though, for that population during those two years.
    Read more: Study: Number of 'able-bodied' adults on food stamps doubled after stimulus change | Fox News
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    I thought they had to have a job or at least be looking for work. Maybe just in some states? Anyway YES absolutely they should have to work or be looking for a job. My sister is on food stamps and this was one of the requirements. To get her off of food stamps (eventually) the food stamp office started a program to completely pay for her to go to school, gas to get to school, and a $200 a month stipend. The catch was that her spouse who has never worked hardly a freaking day has to go to the office and sit with the counselor there to apply for jobs - which he did not continue to do so. So, what can I say.
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    Quote Originally Posted by myyams View Post
    I thought they had to have a job or at least be looking for work. Maybe just in some states? Anyway YES absolutely they should have to work or be looking for a job. My sister is on food stamps and this was one of the requirements. To get her off of food stamps (eventually) the food stamp office started a program to completely pay for her to go to school, gas to get to school, and a $200 a month stipend. The catch was that her spouse who has never worked hardly a freaking day has to go to the office and sit with the counselor there to apply for jobs - which he did not continue to do so. So, what can I say.
    It was a requirement until Obama suspended it with the stimulus package. Now Obama is still trying to get around this requirement again by bypassing Congress.
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    It must vary by state-- bc I know for a fact that here in Colorado, you have to either be in training/school or actively looking for work. And there are restrictions on what you do that qualifies for training/school.

    One of my BFF's father lost his employment last year (lay offs.) He has been receiving TANF (though he has no dependents), bc he cannot afford basic food. This fall he was required to enroll in our local community college (oddly, he is not permitted to finish the BS degree he is halfway through, he has to get another associates degree and is required to go the cheapest college in town....) So now he is in school full time to continue to receive his benefits. He is also looking for work.

    I'm just not sure how prevalent this able bodied people getting benefits is.

    Maybe the headline should read "able bodied people receiving benefits doubled during worst economic crises of our times (caused mostly by greedy jerks in the banking/housing industry who sank the whole system while making sh!t tons of money for themselves)"
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    Quote Originally Posted by boilermaker View Post
    Maybe the headline should read "able bodied people receiving benefits doubled during worst economic crises of our times (caused mostly by greedy jerks in the banking/housing industry who sank the whole system while making sh!t tons of money for themselves)"
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    The real facts:

    Newt Gingrich claims that “more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.” He’s wrong. More were added under Bush than under Obama, according to the most recent figures.

    The former speaker made that claim Jan. 16 in a Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and his campaign organization quickly inserted the snippet in a new 30-second TV ad that began running Jan. 18 in South Carolina.

    Gingrich would have been correct to say the number now on food aid is historically high. The number stood at 46,224,722 persons as of October, the most recent month on record. And it’s also true that the number has risen sharply since Obama took office.

    But Gingrich goes too far to say Obama has put more on the rolls than other presidents. We asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition service for month-by-month figures going back to January 2001. And they show that under President George W. Bush the number of recipients rose by nearly 14.7 million. Nothing before comes close to that.

    And under Obama, the increase so far has been 14.2 million. To be exact, the program has so far grown by 444,574 fewer recipients during Obama’s time in office than during Bush’s.

    It’s possible that when the figures for January 2012 are available they will show that the gain under Obama has matched or exceeded the gain under Bush. But not if the short-term trend continues. The number getting food stamps declined by 43,528 in October. And the economy has improved since then.
    Update, Feb. 5: Revised USDA data released in February showed the downward trend continued for a second straight month in November, when the number of persons getting food stamps was 134,418 fewer than it had been at the peak.

    Obama’s Responsibility


    Gingrich often cites the number of persons on food stamps to support his view that the U.S. is becoming an “entitlement society,” increasingly dependent on government aid. And he has a point. One out of seven Americans is currently getting food stamps.
    But Gingrich strains the facts when he accuses Obama of being responsible. The rise started long before Obama took office, and accelerated as the nation was plunging into the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

    The economic downturn began in December 2007. In the 12 months before Obama was sworn in, 4.4 million were added to the rolls, triple the 1.4 million added in 2007.

    To be sure, Obama is responsible for some portion of the increase since then. The stimulus bill he signed in 2009 increased benefit levels, making the program more attractive. A family of four saw an increase of $80 per month, for example. That increase remains in effect and is not set to expire until late next year, according to USDA spokeswoman Jean Daniel.

    The stimulus also made more people eligible. Able-bodied jobless adults without dependents could get benefits for longer than three months. That special easing of eligibility also expired on Sept. 30, 2010. Spokeswoman Daniel told us that 46 states have been able to continue the longer benefit period under special waivers granted because of high unemployment. Previously, able-bodied adults without dependents could collect food stamps for only three months out of any three-year period.

    Otherwise, current eligibility standards are unchanged from what they were before Obama took office, USDA officials say. Generally, those with incomes at or below 130 percent of the official poverty level, and savings of $2,000 or less, may receive aid. The income level is currently just over $29,000 a year for a family of four.

    That leaves the economic downturn that began in 2007 — and the agonizingly slow recovery that followed — as the principal factors making more Americans eligible for food stamps. Officials say that another factor is that Americans today are less reluctant to accept aid than before.

    Of those whose income was low enough to qualify, only 54 percent actually signed up in 2002, but that rose steadily to 72 percent by fiscal 2009, the latest USDA figures show (See Table 2).

    USDA researchers said the jump in the participation rate happened because of actions by state governments. In a report released in August 2011, the Office of Research and Analysis said:
    USDA: States have increased outreach to low-income households, implemented program simplifications, and streamlined application processes to make it easier for eligible individuals to apply for and receive SNAP [food stamp] benefits. Most States also have reduced the amount of information that recipients must report during their certification period to maintain their eligibility and benefit levels, making it easier for low-income households to participate.


    Another reason may be that “food stamps” no longer exist as paper coupons. Instead, beneficiaries now receive plastic debit cards, known as “Electronic Benefit Transfer” or EBT cards, which look pretty much like an ordinary credit card when used in a supermarket checkout line.

    EBT cards have been used in all states since 2004, according to the USDA website. The change to plastic cards was done both to reduce the possibility of fraud, and also to reduce the stigma felt by beneficiaries, and may account for some of the increase in participation.

    In fact, the program is no longer officially called the “food stamp” program. Since 2008, it has been the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP for short.

    Who Gets Food Stamps?


    The most recent Department of Agriculture report on the general characteristics of the SNAP program’s beneficiaries says that in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010:
    • 47 percent of beneficiaries were children under age 18.
    • 8 percent were age 60 or older.
    • 41 percent lived in a household with earnings from a job — the so-called “working poor.”
    • The average household received a monthly benefit of $287.
    • 36 percent were white (non-Hispanic), 22 percent were African American (non-Hispanic) and 10 percent were Hispanic (Table A.21).
    Update, Feb. 5: USDA data understate these figures, however, because participants are not required to state their race or ethnic background. As a result, 18.9 percent are listed as “race unknown.”) A more accurate estimate of the racial and ethnic composition of food-stamp recipients can be drawn from U.S. Census data, based on a sample of households surveyed each year in the American Community Survey. For 2010, Census data show the following for households that reported getting food stamp assistance during the year:
    • 49 percent were white (non-Hispanic); 26 percent were black or African American; and 20 percent were Hispanic (of any race).
    Note that Census data somewhat understate the total number of persons receiving food stamps, compared with the more accurate head count from USDA, which is based on actual benefit payments. Survey participants may be reluctant to state that they have received public assistance during the year. So the Census figures on race and ethnic background can’t be guaranteed to be completely accurate. But we judge the Census figures to be a better approximation of reality regarding race and ethnic background than USDA figures.

    We don’t argue that the program is either too large (as Gingrich does) or too small. It has certainly reached a historically high level, and may or may not grow even larger in the months to come. But the plain fact is that the growth started long before Obama took office, and participation grew more under Bush.

    Kevin Concannon, the USDA’s undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, told the Wall Street Journal: “I realize Mr. Gingrich is a historian, but I’m not sure he’d get very high marks on that paper.”

    Footnote: There was an earlier easing of eligibility standards buried in a 2008 farm bill that Congress enacted over Bush’s veto. Obama voiced support for the measure while campaigning, but was not present for either the Senate vote to pass the bill or the vote to override.

    Both votes enjoyed strong bipartisan majorities. Only 12 Republicans and two Democrats voted to sustain Bush’s veto, for example. Bush didn’t mention the food stamp provisions when he vetoed the bill, but instead cited what he called excessive subsidies to farmers.


    FactCheck.org : Newt’s Faulty Food-Stamp Claim
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    Thats not the debate. The question is should able bodied people on Food Stamps have to work or at least register for work. Obama is currently trying to go around Congress to waive this requirement.

    Napolitano: Obama’s Plan to Waive Welfare Work Requirements is Illegal and Unconstitutional | Fox News Insider

    The people in the able bodied group have doubled in two years. That is a fact. If you want to debate whether on not the fact that they no longer had to meet work requirements made a difference feel free.

    The CRS study showed that in fiscal 2010, the last year for which data was available, the number of food-stamp recipients in that group was at nearly 3.9 million. That's up from 1.9 million in 2008.
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    I would love it if all able-bodied people had a job, which would pretty much make them ineligible for SNAP, but the fact is there's still about 8% of our nation out of work. Many of those people have been out of work so long their unemployment benefits have run out, which made them eligible for SNAP. They are still out of work and now their SNAP benefits are running out, so the President extended those benefits for a short period of time. Do I have a problem with that? Absolutely not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    I would love it if all able-bodied people had a job, which would pretty much make them ineligible for SNAP, but the fact is there's still about 8% of our nation out of work. Many of those people have been out of work so long their unemployment benefits have run out, which made them eligible for SNAP. They are still out of work and now their SNAP benefits are running out, so the President extended those benefits for a short period of time. Do I have a problem with that? Absolutely not.
    The President isn't extending their benefits, he is just waiving the work requirement. So you don't think it should be a requirement that they at least have to attempt to find a job to continue their benefits? They don't have to have a job, just look for one.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boilermaker View Post
    It must vary by state-- bc I know for a fact that here in Colorado, you have to either be in training/school or actively looking for work. And there are restrictions on what you do that qualifies for training/school.
    The latest CRS report noted that while the stimulus law lifted the food stamp work requirement until late 2010, the law allowing extended unemployment benefits likewise allowed most states to waive those work requirements in 2011 and 2012. Statistics were not available, though, for that population during those two years.
    This says the requirement was lifted for everyone until 2010, but some states were allowed to waive the requirements for 2011 & 2012 also. Colorado must have chosen not to continue to waive the requirements. I'm glad some states haven't.
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