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Food Stamps and "assets" - Page 2

post #21 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post
It's not really a matter of being 'deserving' or not. If he has the resources then, yes, he should use them.
Yea but $2,000 is a really small amount. I have more cash on hand than that to pay some of my bills that only come due a few times per year especially since they tend to inconviently come due all at the same time. (glamorous non-essential stuff like my homeowner's insurance, property taxes, and the water bill). Right now my family has fewer bills than pretty much anyone I know.

Right now laid off people get a subsidy on COBRA, but some people on COBRA would spent all off the $2000 on a single COBRA payment.
post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post
It's not really a matter of being 'deserving' or not. If he has the resources then, yes, he should use them.
I just don't think it's right to essentially punish people for saving when they do run into trouble. Hubby and I make sacrifice after sacrifice to save on our modest income. I'm just wondering why we bother? Because, like others have said, just maintaining health insurance would eat up our savings pretty fast. And on top of that, we don't merit help because we've been living waaaaaay below our means?

My job is still looking good and hubby has his seasonal gig back, so this is likely only a theoretical for us, but it does grate on me from time to time. I just don't like how it's always on the individual in this country. I'm expected to be my own safety net, so I go about trying to do that, while spending every last dime is being rewarded. Maybe I'm just too conscientious?

I want a stronger safety net for all.
post #23 of 76
We have no money saved except for an old 401K. THAT kept us from getting any assistance and we are barely keeping above water. We're scrimping and depriving and still are nowhere near "poor enough" for assistance. And we just need it until we sell our house. It sucks.
post #24 of 76
When my dh was laid off we went through our savings and 401k. Oh well, it was money that we had access to. I don't understand why it is acceptable to use someone else's money when you have your own.
post #25 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post
When my dh was laid off we went through our savings and 401k. Oh well, it was money that we had access to. I don't understand why it is acceptable to use someone else's money when you have your own.
I can def understand that pov, but at the same time, what about people who have been paying their taxes for years, like 40 years, struggled to make ends meet, and still not been able to get assistance. Then they lose their jobs, and it's either have no retirement money and have to work until they die, or get public assistance? I see no problem in helping people in situations like that, people whose money has already gone to help others. It's just one big circle.

BTW, do FS only go to people with families? Does it differ by state?
post #26 of 76
This is the main reason why I haven't applied for fs in Nevada. We definitely qualify based on our monthly income(which is only $1400 for a family of 4), but since DP got his tax return-that amount is too great. It's a shame too, because I've heard stories of people living in million dollars home being able to receive fs all because their bank account is low. It really does discourage any type of savings. I just hate though, how all of these banks get help from the government, no one cares what they do with the money, but the little guy has to jump through hoops and ladder just to get help for food.
post #27 of 76
"I'm just wondering why we bother? Because, like others have said, just maintaining health insurance would eat up our savings pretty fast. And on top of that, we don't merit help because we've been living waaaaaay below our means?... Maybe I'm just too conscientious?"

Nope. You are appropriately conscientious. Saving up money to see you through a rainy day is normal, healthy financial behavior.

Relative to income/earning potential, Americans spend less for food than the citizens of any other developed nation. I do not pay taxes so that a family with thousands of dollars in a 401(k) can get SNAP. I think it's pretty revolting that a family WITH assets (such as a 401(k) or a luxurious home) would want to glom onto a program that was intended to help people WITHOUT assets to not go hungry.

That said, there are certain costs that individual families often cannot cover through a rainy day - health care being one of them. I believe that single-payer health care is the just and ethical solution to the health-care crisis in our country. But GROCERIES? When things were tight, my mom worked 20 hours/week as a checkout girl to buy groceries when we were broke. Three shifts. It has always amazed me that able-bodied partnered women whose husbands are home at night will take SNAP before working a PT job to make grocery money. I was raised to believe that that kind of behavior is conning the system.
post #28 of 76
Really? So one should spend their retirement funds, taking the tax losses of course, in order to avoid using public aid. What will they do when they retire? What will they live on then?

Anyway, I do agree with you concerning single payer health care. Actually, I'd worry far less about these things if we had such a system.
post #29 of 76
I don't know that a 401k would be counted as an "asset". This is what is posted on the Federal SNAP (food stamp) website. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/rules/M...2/pensions.htm It seems to indicate that many retirement plans are excluded from being counted as an asset. That said, it's up to the individual to decide if they need to apply for food stamps. I know there was a news piece about a case in my general area where the person had something like $50,000 in the bank (maybe from a severance package, I don't remember at this point), but still qualified for food stamps.
post #30 of 76
"I see no problem in helping people in situations like that, people whose money has already gone to help others. It's just one big circle."

I didn't notice this before. Yes, it IS one big circle. People who lose their employment are entitled to unemployment insurance (which in some states includes SNAP eligibility, it's actually given as part of the standard unemployment package precisely so that people who've been paying into the system for years DON'T spend down all their assets during the period of unemployment).

That's a different thing, though, than SNAP as a long-term part of the family food budget in a family with two able-bodied adults. Food. is. cheap. Anybody who wants to pay for their own food (and has a partner or other person providing free childcare) can do it. If your family headed by two able-bodied adults qualifies for SNAP, something is drastically out of balance. Job loss is (duh) an event that produces an immediate imbalance. But it tends to be of short duration. If your long-term monthly gross household earnings are less than $2389 for a family of four, and you take SNAP to supplement the groceries and are OK with doing that instead of securing another source of income for your household, then yes, that is a crappy thing to do to all the people who actually CAN'T feed themselves without SNAP.

(I personally know several families who choosing to live long-term on less money than that, BTW. They sure as heck are not using SNAP. They are growing veggies and making do with one bathroom and sometimes, gasp, NO CABLE TV.)
post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
"I see no problem in helping people in situations like that, people whose money has already gone to help others. It's just one big circle."

I didn't notice this before. Yes, it IS one big circle. People who lose their employment are entitled to unemployment insurance (which in some states includes SNAP eligibility, it's actually given as part of the standard unemployment package precisely so that people who've been paying into the system for years DON'T spend down all their assets during the period of unemployment).

That's a different thing, though, than SNAP as a long-term part of the family food budget in a family with two able-bodied adults. Food. is. cheap. Anybody who wants to pay for their own food (and has a partner or other person providing free childcare) can do it. If your family headed by two able-bodied adults qualifies for SNAP, something is drastically out of balance. Job loss is (duh) an event that produces an immediate imbalance. But it tends to be of short duration. If your long-term monthly gross household earnings are less than $2389 for a family of four, and you take SNAP to supplement the groceries and are OK with doing that instead of securing another source of income for your household, then yes, that is a crappy thing to do to all the people who actually CAN'T feed themselves without SNAP.

(I personally know several families who choosing to live long-term on less money than that, BTW. They sure as heck are not using SNAP. They are growing veggies and making do with one bathroom and sometimes, gasp, NO CABLE TV.)
Your view will not be popular here. I agree with one exception: it is not always easy for an able bodied person to get a job in this economy. You could very well have two able bodied adults in a household and not be able to find enough work to put food on the table.
post #32 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxinator View Post
I can def understand that pov, but at the same time, what about people who have been paying their taxes for years, like 40 years, struggled to make ends meet, and still not been able to get assistance. Then they lose their jobs, and it's either have no retirement money and have to work until they die, or get public assistance? I see no problem in helping people in situations like that, people whose money has already gone to help others. It's just one big circle.

BTW, do FS only go to people with families? Does it differ by state?
It's not the perfect situation, but yes. There are millions of families like mine that are scraping by because of the tax burden placed on us from public assistance programs. I have no problem with people who will go hungry receiving aid, but if you will go hungry and you have thousands of dollars in the bank (or in a 401k) that you refuse to access then you need mental help.

(When I say 'you' I really mean 'one' not necessarily any 'you' in particular, yk?)
post #33 of 76
"...if you will go hungry and you have thousands of dollars in the bank (or in a 401k) that you refuse to access then you need mental help."

That's a much more succinct way of expressing how I feel. And yes, I agree that two able-bodied adults can be trying HARD to find two jobs (or one job!) in this economy and still not be able to cobble together a sufficient household income for many, many months. That's why we have caseworkers, theoretically - so that benefits decisions are not made by cranks like me on the Internet, but by people who have context and evidence to help them determine if a family's individual circumstances make them an appropriate candidate for the various forms of public assistance.
post #34 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post
I disagree. My dh's income is high enough that we don't qualify, but too low for us to save to any real degree. So our tax dollars should pay for FS for people w/money in the bank? Where is the sense in that?
I'd rather someone continue paying their rent or house payment and get a little help paying for food when they need it.

When dh was unemployed, we still had a $1600 house payment to make, and we didn't qualify for food stamps because of our savings. I think it would have made more sense for us to use the savings to hang onto our house, but it's not what we had to do.
post #35 of 76
OK, phathui5, I am sorry to put you on the spot, but maybe you can explain this to me so I can stop having this huge cognitive disconnect about SNAP.

My dad lost his job and was unemployed for months. My parents owned a house they didn't want to lose. So my mom worked 20-25 hours/week at the grocery store for, geez, nearly a year. Her salary bought groceries and toiletries, Dad's unemployment plus our savings (including a chunk of that 401k, they took out a hardship loan against it and paid it back later) kept us in the house with all the utilities turned on. Mom didn't have a childcare problem, because my dad was unemployed. And when he found himself a new job that could support us, she quit. (There was a bridge period where they both worked and relied on family for childcare.)

Granted, this was over a decade ago. Does it just not work that way anymore? You (general you) can't walk into every big box retailer in a 20-mile radius and find someplace to work? If my husband walked in the door and told me he had lost his job, I couldn't walk right out it and find myself a crappy job that was taking anybody who would show up acting sober?
post #36 of 76
No, you cant. at least not around here. DH & I have both looked for months for anything at all w/ zero success - never even got a call back. Half the places around here arent even handing out apps.
post #37 of 76
I think it maybe depends on your state? We just applied and we have more than $2k in assests. We had about $7k in savings at the time and we also have $7k in a Roth IRA. But according to our income and current checking, we were approved I guess.

Good luck! I think just apply and see what happens. I thought we wouldn't get approved but we did.
post #38 of 76
Well I just read the responses and since people seem so judgemental towards people on f.s., I just feel the need to clarify.

We are family of 5 and my DH lost his 2nd job. Our income is now $1600 and our mortgage is $1400. All of the savings we have is gifts from family to help us pay our bills. Even with f.s. assistance, we still won't be able to pay all of our bills (without help of the monetary gifts). F.S. are just temporary until DH can get a 2nd job or maybe I can get something nights and weekends. I have to say, it is a HUGE relief to know we have this help.

I do have other problems with f.s. The biggest being that you can buy almost anything with it (except cooked foods)! You could buy ALL junk food if you wanted to.

And I remember once being behind someone near the seafood aisle and I really wanted some crab legs but I didn't buy them because it was way too expensive, but another person grabbed 3 packages along with a couple lobsters and then when I was behind them in line, they paid with f.s.

There should be guidelines.

I will continue to buy healthy food and comparison shop to make sure my f.s. money is stretched as far as possible. I'm not going to go on a fat bonanza now that food is free!
post #39 of 76
"We are family of 5 and my DH lost his 2nd job. Our income is now $1600 and our mortgage is $1400."

I get that you need to tap some kind of resource something to bridge the gap until a second income can be generated. I even get that immediately downsizing to a housing situation you can truly afford is likely not feasible, given the state of the real estate market, so you just have to do the best you can to meet that mortgage, and hopefully make a long-term plan to obtain more reasonable housing.

What I don't get is why SNAP is on the table as a choice while you still have assets you can access. Did you know that a penalty-free IRA withdrawal permitted to avoid foreclosure on your home?

And I REALLY don't get how you can judge the person who bought seafood with SNAP, when you are sitting on 7k plus cash gifts from relatives and taking SNAP just because you can. I mean, either individuals are justified on using SNAP benefits for something other than avoiding hunger or they aren't.

I think that SNAP should be a basic-staples-only program for people who have no other way to pay for their food, and I'd love to see the federal government invest in some infrastructure that would actually make that reasonable (i.e., real grocery stores in economically depressed urban areas). I hate that my tax dollars go to put food that's been proven to cause long-term health problems into the mouths of a vulnerable segment of our population. Honestly, I'd rather see them eating the lobster.
post #40 of 76
We cannot downsize in housing. We live in a HCOL area and this was the cheapest option in the a good area. That $1400 also includes taxes and insurance.

All of that $7k has gone to medical bills. We had 2 children in the NICU for over a month and I also was on hospital bedrest before that. The children were discharged on heart monitors and home nurse visits for 2 months.

I was just informing the OP to the fact that we received benefits despite having that money in the bank, since that was her question.

This is the reason why you shouldn't judge people- because you have NO idea what their story is.

And I yes I feel like I can judge (more like raise an eyebrow) at people on FS who buy lobster and crab legs because that is a waste of money. Food can be cheap, you can make that food stamp money go so much further if you just stick to the basics of what you need. Nobody needs lobsters to survive.
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