sydney_phillips

I Got Food Stamps and So Can You!

My recent excursion into the welfare system has left me scratching my head.  Prior to writing and researching this project, my only impression of food stamps and similar welfare programs was that the credit only worked for certain items at certain stores and that an individual had to be in a particularly dire financial situation to receive such aid.  I was wrong.

An EBT card works and looks like a debit card, but instead of the user withdrawing money from a checking account, the government prepays an amount of money it deems necessary for the user’s food expenditures.  Several of my classmates recently implemented the use of an EBT card for their groceries, and their involvement in the program immediately piqued my interest.  To be honest, my first thought was: “I wonder if I qualify for free grocery money.”  My immediate second thought was: “How do they qualify for free grocery money?”  These students come from similar financial backgrounds to mine, live in similar accomodations, and take the same amount of college credit hours that I do. Thus, my investigation began with a food stamp application, an interview request, and a trip to a place no one really wants to visit: the Department of Human Services.

I was informed by a very kind woman from the DHS that I would have to complete an interview to be considered for the program.  The next morning, I was surprised to see the long line of people that trailed outside.  When I reached the front of the line, I was informed that all of the interview spots were filled for the morning and that I’d have to call back later and complete my interview over the phone, which I did later that day.  To be considered, I needed to submit my last four paychecks, one rent receipt, one utility bill from the previous month, and verification that I was a student worker on campus.

I received a notice in the mail that the Department of Human Services had not received my employment verification and therefore could not review my case until I produced another pay receipt (which I could not produce, due to the fact that I’d only worked three weeks at my new job).  I had essentially given up at this point.  I didn’t need an EBT card; my investigation was merely an exercise in civic welfare accountability and efficiency.

Approximately one month after I had received the first letter, another letter found its way to my mailbox from the Department of Human Services.  I opened it up to find an EBT card with my name on it, instructions on how to activate and use the card, and the amount I could access on it per month — 200 dollars.  Nothing followed-up my interview, other than the evidently pointless letter I received during the previous month.   No one ever asked for a copy of my birth certificate or Social Security card, nor for my student identification card.  I answered all of their questions truthfully, but how were they to know that I was who I said I was?  Is it really this simple to obtain welfare benefits here in the United States?

It’s not hard to qualify for the program as a student and some universities even publicize food stamps to their students. For example, in Oregon, if you fall into any of the following categories, you automatically qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) program: full-time student who works at least 20 hours per week, full-time single student who is caring for children younger than the age of 12, full-time married student who is caring for children younger than the age of 6, or at least a half-time student who is actively working any hours in a work-study program (institutional or federal) can receive a certain amount of money per month from the government.  While some of these requirements are certainly understandable, the last one leaves the door open for massive amounts of unnecessary welfare spending and fraud.

Welfare in America was intended to provide a temporary means of survival for those at rock bottom.  However, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people using food stamps over the past 40 years, and it would be hard to argue that they are all that destitute.  Over that same time period, an estimated $753 million per year has been spent fraudulently by welfare recipients.  Moreover, the government’s own accounting has cost taxpayers billions of dollars per year as food stamp programs routinely overpay their recipients; last year, that figure alone totaled $2.5 billion.

That being said, the students I know who use food stamps are hard-working, productive individuals whose parents won’t compensate them for the costs of college.  Mine generally don’t either, so I get that.  By using the program, students are able to save hundreds of dollars on food so they can pay for school instead of taking out an extra loan.  I’m not discrediting that logic; I totally sympathize.

But when government starts to act as the hand that feeds its people and makes personal decisions for them, citizens lose their identities and freedoms.  Not only is the innovative, hardworking, passionate American lost because the government promotes the idea that individuals can’t do it themselves, but the individuals come to expect the handouts and riot when they are revoked.

Given my own personal experience, it is clear that food stamps are too easy to obtain, student or not.  I realize that the food stamp program is different in all states, and some are more thorough with background checks than others, but much greater reform is needed.  It concerns me that 15% of the population, or 46 million people, rely on others’ tax dollars to pay for their food.  That doesn’t sound like freedom to me.

Yes, I apparently qualify for and possess an EBT card in the state of Tennessee, but I will not activate it.  Participating in a government welfare program simply because I can would amount to an endorsement of the growing entitlement society in America.  We should always advocate smaller government.  The decision to use food stamps for my food supply would directly contradict that principle, and our government’s purpose as it was described in the Federalist Papers and U.S. Constitution would be further distorted.

Sydney Phillips | Lee University | @sydphillips

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285 Responses

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  1. Sassafrass
    Jul 19, 2014 - 09:42 PM

    You definitely shed a little bit of light on to a very tricky topic. Tricky or not, I feel as though you definitely have a fairly open-eyed understanding of how the program works, as well as how easily it can be–and IS–abused. Statistically, throughout the nation, most FAP recipients are in destitute situations, relying on the Food Assistance Program for their SURVIVAL. There are definitely individuals, such as yourself (although I commend you for recognizing an unethical prospect in activating and using the benefits you received), who find that they can easily obtain these monies. The tragedy in the simplicity of acquiring Food Assistance, is that those who are not truly in need are selfishly utilizing this program 1) because they CAN, 2) to save their cash for more luxurious consumer transactions (perhaps a vacation, new vehicle, furniture, etc.), and 3) because they have no clue that even though THEY may qualify for the FAP, there are literally hundreds (possibly thousands) of individuals and families–in that state ALONE–who are devastatingly, and repetitively, cornered with the decision between paying for needed medication (or perhaps toilet paper, shampoo, a load of laundry, etc.) or the little bit of life-sustaining food that they are able to afford. From my perspective, the numerous individuals falling between the cracks–sinking further into the merciless hell they know–portray the true disgraces, faults, and problematic policy loop-holes that form the Food Assistance Program’s failure in providing adequate public assistance–not the ease of collecting food benefits or the misuse of government monies.

    Reply
  2. Donald
    Jul 17, 2014 - 06:42 PM

    Concerned that 15% of the population relies on the tax dollars of others for food? Raise the minimum wage. Then they’ll pay for their food out of their livable wages. Something tells me you wouldn’t like this idea either.

    Reply
  3. yankeegal52
    Jul 14, 2014 - 09:27 PM

    I find it very hard to believe that she received a letter saying she would not receive food stamps because her work hours could not be verified, and then later received an EBT card in the mail.

    By FEDERAL law, college students CANNOT get food stamps UNLESS they are working in a federal work study program or are working elsewhere for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Any student who applies for food stamps and doesn’t meet that criteria simply will not receive food stamps – unless a worker doesn’t follow up.

    She says she has a food stamp card but hasn’t activated it. Just because she has the card does NOT mean there’s any money in the account. Plus, she would have to be recertified every 3-6 months, depending on where she lives.

    Personally, I think she’s blowing conservative smoke up our collective arses.

    Reply
  4. Owen
    Jun 20, 2014 - 05:27 PM

    According to DHS, SNAP fraud and processing errors (sounds like what you experienced) amount to a whopping 1.3% of the entire budget of the program.

    Reply
  5. amber
    May 26, 2014 - 03:05 AM

    To many people can support themselves just as you did until you “RECEIVED YOUR FREE MEAL TICKET” in the mail. I would love to support your article but I strongly disagree with thieves, and in this case, as you said, ” I had given up” it is thieves like you that take from the mouths of children, adults, and seniors who have fallen on hard times. I hope you read this post because unless you donating the groceries to charity, your a thief.

    Reply
    • Sondra
      Jun 25, 2014 - 12:33 AM

      Did you read the article? She said she wasn’t using it. Dear god. Please read before commenting. She’s not a thief. And neither are the people who take the benefit if they qualify. If the system is broken, then it can be fixed without villainizing those who aren’t doing anything illegal. Taking advantage of loopholes and standing systems is how everyone gets ahead – if you think the system isn’t working, lobby, vote and change it. But business is business and if you support the “work” of people whose sole job it was to figure out how to manipulate numbers to hide what was about to happen in the housing crisis a few years ago that tanked the world’s economy to line their pockets, how the heck can you justify being angry at average people who take advantage of the rare loophole that works in their favor to do the same?

      Reply
      • Lila
        Jul 08, 2014 - 02:55 PM

        Actually the food Stamps are Still acumulating monthly activated or not

  6. fe
    Apr 11, 2014 - 08:36 PM

    To add, I would love to see a future piece here with some statistical information about the percentage of college students like yourself relying on tax payer dollars to foot the bill for their education. You state that you are noble and would not want to contribute to government debt by taking that food money, but us tax payers can foot the bill for your tuition, books, transportation and housing expenses so you can sit on your ass and study all day. What about all of these property taxes going to your campus? Have any statistical info on that? What about a piece comparing the amount of tax dollars spent on those expensive books you have -vs- the $30 a week food stamps recipients are eating off of? I would imagine 6 months worth of food stamps would cover 2 books you are going to use for 4 months, return and pocket whatever you get back on buyback day. So who is the fraud here? Your welcome for the perspective. And your welcome for the free education.

    Reply
    • Ellen Smith
      Apr 19, 2014 - 02:36 PM

      Good point. So many long-term students are often just a tad ignorant of life. Many love to hear the sound of their own voice, but sometimes fail to completely think through whether or not there is truthfulness in their eloquent sounding words. Using an EBT card does not contribute to government debt. Monies are allocated in advance for the fiscal year; not handed out little by little like allowance. I have used the food stamp program a few months at a time as needed, and then removed myself from the program when things got better. I am a working, tax-paying, American citizen, and I don’t feel bad at all about having used food stamps in the past. And you’re right, students do receive WAY too many advantages. She qualified for $200 in food stamps, and by her own admission didn’t need it??? I was never awarded that much, and I definitely could have used it.

      Reply
  7. fe
    Apr 11, 2014 - 07:25 PM

    What you aren’t taking into consideration is the cost of living and the poverty level. The government isn’t just handing out “people’s tax dollars” all willy nilly with no regulations as you assume. Take you for instance, you said you only worked for three weeks, you probably make well under $12 and hour and that is being generous, you have no other source of income…well, who is buying your food then? Is just appearing in your little dorm fridge? Probably not, but I am sure your parents are still supporting you which you didn’t report and if you took out loans it’s a debt. Is it too easy to get benefits? Apparently if you’re a single college kid living off your parents and working a few hours at the school book store for extra beer cash on the weekends or work experience on your resume. There are actual families who struggle due to extenuating circumstances like the modern cost of living, families who work and pay taxes….some of those taxes pay for the school YOU GO TO. Maybe these families need a crackdown on your college experience, maybe their tax dollars don’t need to be spent on the building and staff giving you an education.

    Reply
  8. wasanasan
    Dec 03, 2013 - 11:26 AM

    In the state of CALIFORNIA you ca not get foodstamps (CalFresh) benefits if you are a college student, they will make you non eligible, if you want to qualify in the state of California DO NOT TELL THEM YOU ARE IN COLLEGE (in CALIFORNIA)

    Reply
    • Pam
      Mar 04, 2014 - 08:07 PM

      Interesting, I didn’t know what. So meaning I would have to lie about being a college student if I want to apply for food stamps??

      Reply
    • John Madden
      Jun 11, 2014 - 11:55 PM

      Actually the SNAP website (formerly known as food stamps) provides exceptions for college students in California. A Full-time college student who works part time, at least 20-hours a week, actually qualifies for food stamps. A part-time college student who is in their college or university’s work-study program also automatically qualifies.

      Reply
  9. shawna stellenberg
    Nov 03, 2013 - 07:16 PM

    Wow is really all I can say after reading thru this blog and it’s somewhat assinine if not bigoted follow up comments. I came across thia honestly looking for some kind of tips or tricks to speed up obtaining food stamps. I am a single mother of a 8yr old autistic child. Not to knock any other single moms out there because the comments regarding not having kids you can’t afford, and subsequently flooding our already taxed system. I can agree to that to some point. My mistake was my ex husbund, who at 36 decides to squander our life savings, commit bank fraud and now sits in federal prison camp. Believe it or not, he’s actually eating and living better than his poor child and his caretaker. I am a college graduate who has worked my entire life, paying my own way thru it all. My parents both died of cancer at a young age and I have no siblings
    Anyhow, I recently broke my ankle and tore a ligament in my knee and lost my waitress job….yes being out of the job market for 5 years taking care of my son, waitressing was all I could find to pay for our 1 bedroom apt that is now in eviction. With all this I qas turned down for food stamps to feed my poor child all because I had 400 in the bank which I was saving for eviction court hoping to save our home. If anyone has any ideas on anything, please e-mail me asap at sstellenberg at gmail. I’m honestly at the end of my rope. I see these women at the grocery store with 300 dollar shoes buying lobster tails with their ebt cards and I get turned down for saving my lousy home….thanks for the tips and I apologize for the grammatical errors. I recently had to sell my labtop and currently only get internet by using the library’s wifi onmy old cracked galaxy phone…

    Reply
    • fe
      Apr 11, 2014 - 07:09 PM

      Sounds fishy, $400 in the bank isn’t enough to disqualify you by any states standards. If this is in fact true, all you had to do was take the money out and close the account. Problem solved. I’m a single parent of three earning a second degree, I get food assistance even making $1200 a month full time. This article is just a young, inexperienced opinion, the poverty level is the poverty level is the poverty level, you can’t change that. What isn’t mentioned here IS the poverty level, if you make under a certain figure, and don’t have any outside income or luxury assests, you qualify, period.

      Reply
      • Donna
        May 01, 2014 - 01:57 PM

        I would like to add, as a unemployed, single mother and a full time college student that I was just denied TWICE for food assistance. I am not looking for a “free ride” from the government so don’t misunderstand what I am saying, but do feel like everyone who falls within the specified guidelines should be allowed the same benefits. That is not the case. My daughters father is behind in child support due to his recent change in jobs. When reviewing the application I turned in they said I was “supposed to be” receiving 500$ a month in child support. (KEY WORD: supposed to be) I have not received that in many months. It is a random amount and not consistent. They can see that. They pull up the page while I am on the phone with them and tell me how much and when I received it. I have no idea what is wrong with this whole system but even after speaking with a employee and supervisor and having them both tell me that I do fall in the guidelines to be eligible to receive assistance while I am in school with a kid under 12 and no one to watch her I am STILL denied. This whole system is jacked up and just because it allowed one person to receive assistance definitely does not mean that the other is treated with any equality at all. It all depends on the case worker you get assigned to. They can say yes or no depending on their feelings and that’s crap. So frustrating.

  10. omar margi
    Oct 24, 2013 - 02:21 PM

    Im a full time student at ASU not working in the present time struggling fainancialy need support ,,, getting food stamps make a big different in my life .

    Reply
  11. Holly
    Oct 22, 2013 - 01:12 PM

    There are several questionable things in this blog that are very different from the brief experience I had with food stamps and the experiences of people I know. I don’t want to call someone a liar, but I do wonder…

    Lots of states don’t allow students to get food stamps unless they are working at least 20 hours a week or do federal work study… and even then, they have to meet all the other requirements, which almost none of them do.

    Also, I have never seen nor heard of an office that takes “walk in” interviews. Where the hell is this place that does that? Most would walk you right out the door and say someone will call within a week… then they won’t… then you have to call them over and over and maybe a week after THAT you’ll get a call. Also, EVERY STATE requires proof of identity and citizenship.

    I definitely think there are likely some half truths in this blog… and some glaring omissions…

    Reply
    • Tina
      Feb 24, 2014 - 11:50 AM

      Holly, I agree with you that there are some half truths in this blog. And embellishments. Though it is easy to get an appointment, and you can actually do your appointment over the phone in the state of Tennessee, a social security card is absolutely required. Along with proof of residency, proof of income, proof of rent and utilities. If this person wasn’t asked for these items it was the negligence of the agent at DHS. The way this case was handled is definitely not standard procedure. In addition, the fact that students must be working at least 20 hours a week makes it quite difficult to get food stamps. I am self employed, and when my income dropped dramatically I applied for food stamps to help me through a rough period, but my son was not covered. He is 19 years old, a full time student living at home and driving an hour each way to school, and working less than 20 hours a week. I know no college students who regularly work more than 20 hours a week around here. With my son going to school five days a week and with two hours of drive time each day, there isn’t 20 hours a week free for him to work and still have time to do homework and study.

      Reply
      • Tara
        May 02, 2014 - 12:49 PM

        I think what most people commenting aren’t realizing is that each state is responsible for the procedures and practices associated with providing benefits. Each state has it’s own guidelines for what must be verified and provided when applying for benefits. Our state uses the standard of up to 200% of the federal poverty line, which even at a decent living wage I don’t surpass that. Here in Washington I actually just completed my telephonic interview to get my food stamps. I work full time and provide for my two children and my injured husband, who is too young to collect any sort of disability anything. Instead he watches our children while I work. I had to provide only the id number they assigned me, and paystubs. Our programs allow for you to receive benefits so long as you are working and under the poverty line, period. If you are a student then you must be full-time, and if you have a child then you must use the school child care system while you look for work. You may walk into an office anytime for anything, so long as you are prepared to wait your turn in line.

  12. Holly
    Oct 22, 2013 - 12:56 PM

    Even if it is that “easy” to get food stamps… there is one very crucial detail that she completely ignored. Maybe this was intentional, or maybe it never occurred to her because she has never actually been in dire straights financially. That factor is how LONG it took her to receive benefits. According to her account, it took her over a month to receive any help. I can’t say how long over a month because she did not disclose how long it took for her to receive the first letter, but if what I know about it holds true at all, it probably took AT LEAST a week or two.

    It may be the perspective of someone who doesn’t need food stamps that they are easy to receive. But that is because that person is not actually going without and eating ramen noodles and bananas for 6 weeks while waiting for the food stamp office to finally process their application. That’s not to mention the way it affects people with KIDS. Ramen and bananas won’t suffice.

    Most people who apply for food stamps do actually need them pretty desperately. I would say that if there were somewhere to reallocate welfare money or reform spending, it would be to take away benefits from those who are not in financial ruin (like the author and her classmates), and instead put that money toward actually hiring enough workers to process cases more quickly. There are too many cases and too many people who go for a month or more without any money for food because of it.

    I also found it amazing that she was able to go to an office and stand in line for an interview. In my state, you can’t even do that. Also, if you call for an interview, you will have to wait a week to be called back. You always get a machine. You CANNOT just call up and get an interview out of nowhere.

    Reply
  13. John Plucenik
    Oct 10, 2013 - 04:03 AM

    I couldn’t read the entire mountain of criticism directed toward your article Sydney because it started becoming evident that it was at most thoughtless dribble. You hit the nail directly on the head with this article and I’m glad you had the courage to say so. Heed not the word of dissenters for their word is weak in the face of the truth. People are deluded into thinking that because we’ve had Medicare and Medicaid and all of these federal welfare programs since FDR that they have helped keep us from people starving in the streets. IF FEDERAL WELFARE WAS CUT BACK IT WOULD IN NO WAY WHATSOEVER LEAD TO MASS QUANTITIES OF PEOPLE GOING HUNGRY OUT IN THE STREETS. Wake up America. We are flushing 753 million dollars a year toward an outdated and disproven system that was a reaction to a torrential negative downturn of the economy which was actually caused by the government in the first place (little known fact). Democrats seem so open-minded when they open their lips about teaming up with Republicans to reduce the deficit yet when talks come to topics such as cutting back on entitlement programs suddenly republicans have violated one of the most sanctimonious ideas in the history of the modern world and it drives democrats angry. All the hate is a good sign. You’re pushing the right buttons.

    Reply
    • David Lee
      Jan 19, 2014 - 03:10 AM

      I don’t know where to start with your comments about how you feel about public assistance. I’m not so sure about your assessment in deeming it “hate”. In fact, your ignorance speaks volumes about what you DON’T KNOW and how you were raised and brainwashed , most likely somewhere in the midwest, by a Republican household, got your first new car at 16 by your parents and so far, have never fallen on hard times. Calling out those of you in this society that lack compassion, kindness and consider any social services as a failing system full of economy bleeding Democrats is not hate. In fact, i pity you. What you put out in this universe is what you deserve and one day you will regret the fact that you sir, are the hater. What incenses me the most is that this country can tear down a stadium and rebuild another one and spend $1 BILLION and no one blinks an eye. And lets go and invade and then rebuild over and over another country aka Afghanistan and Iraq thanks to your beloved republicans and spend billions once again and thats perfectly acceptable. But God forbid our own people fall on hard times, have a terminal or catastrophic illness, and need help? maybe you SHOULD read the comments instead of being the smug and pretentious guy that you are. You might learn something. the Government isn’t here just for you to mock or to spend tax money that you seem to think belongs to only you but news flash, Democrats pay MORE. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2012/10/22/are-democrats-or-republicans-better-for-your-money-or-your-life/) So until you have some answers to issues that affect every country in this world, why don’t you volunteer your time in a soup kitchen or Salvation Army and then give us your opinion. Thats free, and might make a difference in this world.

      Reply
    • fe
      Apr 11, 2014 - 08:41 PM

      How many millions in tax dollars are going to college students? Students perfectly capable of getting a job and paying their own way? These students are NOT GOING TO GO BROKE OR STARVE without MY TAX DOLLARS PAYING THEIR LAZY WAY.

      Reply
  14. Maria
    Aug 20, 2013 - 03:44 PM

    I think this experience can in no way demonstrate all the factors that go into obtaining Foodstamps. It is not that easy or maybe just not in my state which is CA which everyones seems to believe is the easiest. I had a child as a teenager so started working when I was 16 and still went to school. As a SINGLE mom I applied for foodstamps and they said no because I lived with a parentand was underage that should provide for me or apply themselves. Yes that’s true my parent was responsible for me NOT my child. And certainly wasn’t going to give me food money or apply for it. So I continued working and going to school and raising my daughter this is no easy task. Im not saying take away americans desire to work but damn try getting up every two hours to a screaming kid then waking up and getting her ready for daycare before you head off for school picking her up working and then homework just to do it again. Point being I didn’t want anybody to take away my responsibility I wanted some help not cash just some money for food and daycare expenses. Well fastfoward to when I turned 18 tried to apply again they said no because I lived with a parent and apparently the law states the age requirement is now 22. How many of you live with parents and have a free rise? I pay bills, food, and rent. its just slightly cheaper than being on my own which I CANT afford to do. so here I am going to college and working part time job so I can have a career so eventually I wont even have to remember what the hell EBT programs are for. Well as you know college takes a while especially with a kid now im doing alright scraping by sometimes we eat a lot of pb&j or spaghetti all week but heck were alive no thanks to the program that helps families in need. Well I had given up on the govt when my brother gets released from a stint in jail low and behold apparently that AUTOMATICALLY qualifies him for EBT!!!! so every month I buy them from him he gives me $2 for $1 it helps. Now we can add some meat to our spaghetti and maybe buy those daily fruits we are suppose to consume instead of so much bread trying to fill up on empty carbs. Well enough is enough its my senior year og college im working 40 hours a week!!! yes that’s right full time AND taking my regular full time load 15 units and being a FULLTIME mom!! yes the stress level is high but damn if ima be broke for the rest of my life. To top it off my school sais I have to intern wtf!!?? how can I do that especially with all the kids with no jobs having open availabilities for the internships and taking them all up! so here I go trying to apply again my daughter is 8 ive made it 8 years on my own and really don’t want to but I swallow my pride and try again since im now 22… well guess what I make too fucken much!!! After four years at my job ive slowly worked my way up to a whopping 9.25 an hour!!! (not a lot in cali where min is 8.00) well I make 1200 a month now you tell me if that’s enough for a single mom or TOO much?? fuck the system fuck the government.. ITS NOT EASY!

    Reply
  15. Ashley
    Jul 29, 2013 - 04:03 AM

    personally, i’d like to see all of the conservatives, just get fed up quit their jobs and work the system, and let all the still working liberals take care of our ‘rich’ a**es. maybe then they might wake up.

    Reply
  16. Ben
    Jul 26, 2013 - 09:50 PM

    I always kind of chuckle to myself at articles that claim America is being ruined by poor people who have no political or economic enfranchisement. We’re in trillions of dollars of debt, and you’re worried about giving out a couple hundred bucks so that people don’t starve?

    Reply
  17. Marcos M
    May 02, 2013 - 02:14 PM

    One of the few things that separates America from the developing world is we don’t let our people starve. Yes SNAP is abused, however we cannot seemingly cut off the bottom 15% of our society.

    Reply
    • Lulu
      May 04, 2013 - 08:44 AM

      The author sees it as a loss of “her freedom” which is not only illogical but self-centered.

      Instead of studying history and the causes of poverty and increase in food insecure Americans, she provides questionable evidence to make her conclusion.

      Reply
      • Alcatraz
        Sep 25, 2013 - 11:36 AM

        When one person’s wealth is taken, and subsequently given to someone else, that is indeed a loss of the author’s freedom. I would make attempt at further explanation, but believe it would fall on naive eyes/ears.

      • Benjamin Barber
        Oct 25, 2013 - 05:39 PM

        Freedom or colloquially known as liberty, takes the form of “liberty to” and “liberty from”, and then aggregate liberty in the form of X is free / not free from Y to be / not be Z.

        The game theory of maximin, minimizing the maximum loss, or maximizing the minimum gain, increases the aggregate levels. Believe it or not, if you don’t have a productive workforce, the rich can’t benefit.

        Having poor people spending lines at soup kitchens, or out collecting bottles and cans, is not the optimal use of labor time. Its better to get those people into school, to raise their labor productivity

        #science_bitches

  18. anonymous
    May 01, 2013 - 10:04 AM

    I’m sure there are college students or other people in general who abuse welfare benefits, but I don’t believe it is that easy to obtain SNAP. For the past couple years, I’ve received food stamps until recently. I was cut off because they said full-time college students don’t qualify for welfare unless participating in a work study program or working at least 20 hours a week. People could say I’m lazy and should get a job, but it’s not that easy. I have 93 cents in my bank account- I would love to have a job. Jobs are heard to find these days and even for most simple jobs now, you need at least a BA. I think it’s really unfair to deny benefits to poor college students who can’t find work. They should be able to participate in job programs like anyone else- and when did educational pursuits become devalued? The government and the people should want a more educated populace. Maybe education isn’t considered work anymore because of all the kids who go to college just to party or because their parents want them to or because employers want college graduates for jobs where it really is unnecessary. Apparently volunteer work isn’t real work either, because I teach GED students. I can’t get a job, but I thought the teaching experience would help me find a job. How is this any different then people who engage in career training as a welfare benefit requirement? Further more, aren’t I preparing for a job by going to college? I have a 3.94 GPA, and I actually want to learn. I don’t have parents to help me out- not even a little bit. And when people call people like me lazy, it really irks me. The values of this country are really off. I’m sorry that I don’t want to spend my life in a factory and be alienated from the product of my labor and work for the oppressive capitalist class. And for those big capitalists, I’d like to see them work in their factories. I did it but I doubt they could stand it for even a day.

    Reply
    • Joe Spellcheck
      May 08, 2013 - 07:54 AM

      jobs are HARD to find these days when you cannot spell

      Reply
      • GrammarYoAzz
        Jun 04, 2013 - 10:29 PM

        Don’t be a D***! It’s a simple typo. You obviously can’t capitalize or punctuate.

    • Shadow
      May 08, 2013 - 04:08 PM

      “Simple jobs” do not require any college: i.e., restaurant waitstaff, maid services, elderly care, etc… there are plenty of jobs out there that you could work if you really wanted to. Every college kid I personally know is full-time and still works a job. They work on campus in the mail rooms, or at the local frozen yogurt shop, etc… it’s just a job to help pay expenses, but they WORK!

      Reply
      • anonymous
        Jun 05, 2013 - 01:02 PM

        Actually, there aren’t even that many of the “simple jobs”- even restaurant waitstaff and maid service job, etc. want experienced people. They want people with experience in that job field. I’ve stooped so low as to apply to McDonald’s and Wendy’s, and I haven’t even gotten an interview. So if you’re implying that I don’t want to WORK you’re very mistaken.

    • John
      Aug 26, 2013 - 09:32 AM

      Miss Anonymous,

      I can feel your frustration; but think the problem you may be having is your negative attitude is hurting you.

      First of all, no one owes anybody anything.

      Second, as difficult as it seems, a college degree, for all you paid for it, does not guarentee you a easy path. Everyone who has been self-made starts out at some kind of menial job. It teaches some humility, work ethic and, oddly enough, leadership. You can’t be served, until you have served.

      If you’re in debt, and all you have is some degree that has a poor employment or income generating capability; then you made a poor financial and career decision. Get angry at the University that sold you a “Bill of Goods”. They charge you an arm and a leg for a degree in Women Studies, the professors are all on tenor earning 90% over the locals; but what their teaching pays – maybe – if you find a job – $32K a year; but you owe $70K. Aren’t you all a little upset that your Professor gets a secure job; and the University has increased tuition by triple the inflation rate, why providing a crap product? In any other business, they’d be sued for fraud. You’ll soon learn you would have made more money as a Utility Lineman ($80K in Florida after four years plus overtime) or Master Plumber.

      Third, that Capitalist you mock may have started out at McDonald’s or Wendy”s. I started out sweeping floors for my father’s company at thirteen, moved up to unloading and manufactuing steel products in a tool shop through high school and college; and even worked cleaning up after people at McDonalds for extra money. Actually, McDonald’s is about the best training a young person can get; and if you look at the careers and pay of their managers who started early, went to “Hamburger U”, you’d be surprised at the income they make – without a huge college debt.

      Third, please be more circumspect in your remarks about Capitalists. My family were certainly not wealthy, oppressive Capitalists when our family business was started. My mother and father hocked everything to start the company. They took the risk of failure. Our employees were paid well. We created 40 jobs in our community, supporting over 100 people. Uncle Sam wasn’t going to bail us out as he regularly does all those Wall Street idiots if we hit the wall. So please make the distinction between the local guy with a business; and the big corporation guys who buy influence of both party politicans.

      Finally,understand that greed is not just a Captialist thing. Read some more about the corruption about everywhere else,including if you slight someone, you might end up in a Gulag – or dead.

      If you all are frustrated with the government, why do you vote for people who want to give it more control? You will learn that the SNAP is just one of thousands of messed up government programs! You’ll soon be tax payers. Did you ever see a government program actually solve a problem; and put itself out of business? And you never will.

      I’ll gladly pay my taxes to help people who can’t help themselves; but helping people who feel they are entitled, really angers me.

      Reply
  19. T
    Feb 16, 2013 - 08:46 PM

    I got through college eating in the cafeteria like everyone else. I don’t get why college students would do that. Now as a single mom having been abandoned by the man who is supposed to put 50% in, I’m telling my kids “sorry” as they cry themselves to sleep at night. It has been two long months since I provided everything requested to Florida and no card has come for me even though I qualify on my meager teacher’s salary. I’m being sued for my student loans from my MA and I’m scared my kids aren’t growing from hunger. I’ve even risked stealing from dumpsters to stop the constant “I’m hungry” from ringing in my ears. Believe me, food stamps aren’t easy to get even with hungry children to feed.

    Reply
    • Emily
      Apr 29, 2013 - 09:20 PM

      Um, the blogger is lying, plain and simple. It is difficult and almost impossible for Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) to get food stamps and they are limited to getting them for 3 months out of a 3 year period by federal law. In addition, you have to supply full documentation of citizenship. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/rules/Memo/PRWORA/abawds/ABAWDsPage.htm

      Personally, my family and I were kicked off unemployment and SNAP when I made the mistake of going back to college because my field was obsolete. There were literally no jobs for me in my state, and I would not even be able to cover childcare with minimum wage earnings. So I did what I thought was the right thing: enroll in a training program for a new career. Silly me, trying to work. I was kicked off that month.

      Reply
      • Lulu
        May 04, 2013 - 08:45 AM

        Agree.

    • sick of being sick of...
      Jun 05, 2013 - 09:53 AM

      Tell me where it is I need to be to find such “easy” to get food stamps? I am a survivor of a tragedy which left me with nothing but a house payment and bills. I applied for food stamps to help until I could sell my home. I get the run around every time I speak to someone. The problem is, abuse in the system yes… the ones who actually need it can’t get it and the ones who do get it abuse the hell out of it, they know how to screw the system making it HARD for the ones who truly need help…

      Reply
  20. Joan A.
    Feb 15, 2013 - 07:56 PM

    I am like Sawyer’s Mom, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
    I am a multiple amputee. My husband and I have gone through so many reviews and denials, then approvals only to get CUT again.
    I have to prove myself at every turn.
    I am currently being treated for malnutrition and Vitamin D deficiency from only eating one meal a day.
    I am in WA state and it sure isn’t easy here for the disabled!

    Reply
  21. Brandie
    Feb 13, 2013 - 03:40 AM

    I applied for food stamps after losing my job. I was approved, and recieved $200/month. After a few months, I still couldn’t find a job, so I decided to go back to school. I figured that higher education would make me more marketable to employers, and it was a good way to make use of the idle time. 6 months later, I had to re-certify my benefits, now as a full time student. Next, I recieved notification that there was a mistake, and I never should have gotten approved because I was a full time student. I was told that I had to pay back the $1200. So, if I sat on my A**, and did nothing to find a job, I wouldn’t have been asked to pay anything back! Convicted felons, and registered sex offenders can get food stamps, but full time students can’t. I told them that I will pay back the $1200, when a judge tells me that I have to. I gave them all of my contact info, and let me know when I have to appear in court. That was 3 years ago. I haven’t heard a peep.

    Reply
    • Jon
      Feb 15, 2013 - 09:26 PM

      Brandie, we experienced this today. My wife and I are both full time students, and were looking at getting food stamps to ease some of the financial burden. We got the same thing, because we are students, we don’t qualify. The lady on the phone said she didn’t understand why it was like that either. So essentially if I was a lazy-ass convict I could live off of tax dollars, but since I’m a full time student working to better myself and my situation, I can’t get benefits because to hell with students. Ya, okay, nice one America.

      Reply
  22. Aggie
    Feb 06, 2013 - 06:54 PM

    Wow! I was actually looking into utilizing the food stamps as a way to get some of my tax money back. However, Sydney Phillips makes a very good point toward the end of her article. Essentially, “it would only perpetuate the process”. I think that is the end of me looking into acquiring food stamps.

    Trust me, I’m doing fine now (better than I ever thought I would ever be doing) so I don’t need them. It turns out, however, that back when I was in school (and even shortly thereafter), I was in debt up to my teeth. Student loans, living expenses, etc. were a beast. Little by little I came out of it all (not unscathed)… But it takes sacrifice, discipline, and all of those other things that everyone is afraid of mentioning. No sex, because, let’s face it, I wouldn’t have been able to afford the kid (or the “protection” beforehand).

    Anyway, thank you Sydney Phillips for putting that out there. It’s actually quite scary…

    Reply
  23. SawyersMommy
    Feb 05, 2013 - 05:31 AM

    It’s so frustrating to me that seemingly everyone but me can get food stamps. I just don’t understand it. I got my denial info today. I am a disabled mom of a 5 year old son who receives less than $1400 a month in SSDI and child support. I live in Central Florida, pay $900 a month rent plus bills for heating/cooling and water. I pay $99.90 a month for my medicare premiums, plus $21.50 for my son’s insurance. All of this leaves me about $100 a month for food, clothing, toilet paper, laundry detergent, gas/travel expenses, etc. WTF? How is it that people are qualifying with no children and with the ability to work? I’m stuck with no way to make extra money to buy food, I have to limit how much my child can eat in order to make what little food we do scrounge up last as long as possible. It breaks my heart to hear him say he’s still hungry and have to deny him. If you don’t want to use your food stamp card, please send it to me.

    Reply
  24. Dave
    Jan 08, 2013 - 01:05 AM

    well I worked 3 jobs to pay my own way – drove cheap cars and lived in a trailor
    happiest time of my life. Above I saw the comments of some leftists being hypercritical of this artical and sounding very marxist. The reason everything is falling apart (if you cant feed yourself your life has fallen apart)- for the last 40 years our society has been undermined by a group of like minded communists. You only need to listen to Rush, Levin or Beck
    for 1 week and your eyes will be opened. These marxists have slipped into government and public schools and have actually turned everything upside down.
    They have destroyed the family with socially easy divorce on demand abortion
    undermining true parenting. A man used to take the responsibility of providing for his family and his failure to do so would result in direct suffering for his family, so they used to stick together and find a way. The marxists (commies, progressives,liberals) VASTLY expanded the social saftey net and took the responsibility away from the MAN, making it socially acceptable to walk out and let someone else deal with it. That is why we have 40+% single mothers.
    And the 10th most asked for thing from Santa is a DAD.

    I could go on and on about how the economy has been undermined by corruption
    and how corrupt Govt has let it continue and profit from unequal justice.

    But here’s this to wake you up- if youre able to??

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlpODYhnPEo

    Reply
    • Noel
      Oct 16, 2013 - 12:28 PM

      Shut up Dave

      Reply
      • Greg
        Oct 16, 2013 - 10:50 PM

        I’m left speechless by that amazing display of your intellectual prowess, Noel. Well-played. However, you missed an opportunity to call Dave a small-minded, right-wing-extremist-racist-capitalist-pig. ;)

  25. CharlesW
    Dec 14, 2012 - 02:47 AM

    This argument of assistance, it’s bizarre. No one mentions – in whole – the real problem, and that is the Unconstitutional Federal Reserve. In effect, people offer an asset, and the bank gives them money made out of thin air. And they charge interest, but that’s the only bank you can use. (They all work the same.) You have to get another loan to pay the interest, or work for someone else who did. It’s called debt based money and it’s an evil that has spread throughout the world, making a few rich and the rest of us poor.

    The interest on our (personal/National) debt is killing us. But if we stop the borrowing (for programs like this), the money will run out overnight. No more money is being made, so where does the interest payments come from? We must borrow and spend like crazy to sustain this system.

    Now, you may be thinking – who is this libtard? Well I’m not. I don’t like the system, it’s designed for failure. But as long as we have the system, we must live under it. That’s why little changes even though we might have a Red president or a Blue one. They are all fighting the same thing.

    If you really want to break free of the junk they tell you on T.V. and in school, read the book “Creature from Jekyll Island”. It’s an expose on Politics and US History. Good read.

    But for now, I say this to the author, “Please use your EBT to the max, even if you can scrape by without it.”

    That $200 will go to local business. $200 more dollars into the local economy. Yeah it causes inflation, the whole system does, but that’s what we live in. In 1964 a silver quarter could buy a gallon of gas, it still can today. Prices aren’t going up, the value of the USD is going down fast – it has for the past 100 years, and will continue till it’s demise.

    Arguing about this social program or another is pointless. Not a single one needs to exist in a real system. (Medical care, yeah – but dismiss that for now.) But without these programs, boom – it’s over – Bye Bye USA. The banks own everything and no one has a penny except the banks.

    Take your handout, spend it local (maybe some ma/pa shop or smaller chain), and sleep well at night. Don’t get used to it though.

    There will come a time when this system will be fixed (fractional reserve banking and lender of last resort, debt based fiat currency). By fixed I mean that part in () will be eradicated. Once it is, say bye to all these programs, and you better be ready to help the real poor.

    For the record, I pay my taxes. I don’t receive handouts because I’m not eligible. Even when I was dirt poor, they said I wasn’t [eligible] because I had 2 properties, even though one I bought for $800 (sold for $500). I help an elderly person by giving them a place to live, making sure they got food, and occasionally cooking for them. No relation to me. Doesn’t cost me much, maybe $50 a month to feed another person.

    That is the world we need. People helping people, not government helping people by forcing others at gun point to pay for it. (Try not paying your taxes, get caught, and resist arrest.)

    I can’t argue or debate anyone here regarding this, because the system itself doesn’t work. It won’t work. Anyone playing under these rules setup in the USA/World can never make a decision that will work, because the system doesn’t work.

    You need to understand the bigger picture. The origins of Money. Read some biblical texts (they all cover it). Read some American history. Learn about the banking system, how it works.

    If you still think it’s [existing banking system] a good system, you’re just a greedy self centered power tripper.

    Reply
  26. Danielle
    Nov 13, 2012 - 03:39 PM

    The reason why so many more people qualify for food stamps is because the wages earned at minimum wage are below the income limit for food stamps, raise the minimum wage to a living wage and pull the burden off the taxpayer’s and onto the employers, who should be paying their employees enough to feed themselves.

    Reply
    • J. Stanton
      Dec 07, 2012 - 09:58 PM

      Ms. Phillips,

      While I am impressed that you can write a grammatically correct and well-constructed article about your experience in getting food stamps, what I feel is most lacking in your essay is historical perspective and facts.

      When I entered the workforce in the late 1970’s, the wages for entry level (and later on, more middle class) jobs was stagnant, and in relation to inflation and the cost of living of what the average American makes, the compensation for most wage earners has actually gone backward since then.

      For example, in 1983 I was employed in facilities maintenance for a major telephone company. After working there for three years the company restructured, prompting a job change. I then worked in the same field for the next 20 years with modest raises some years; but with declining health care and retirement contributions from my employers during this time, my earning power has actually steadily declined.

      I have since become unemployed (along with millions of others, thanks to the under regulated banking and mortgage industry fiscal crisis) and have been pursuing my AA degree in an attempt to continue contributing to the best of my abilities.

      Upon attempting to re-enter the workforce after Bush left office, I was utterly stunned to find out that wages and compensation packages across the nation for entry level and middle class jobs have taken a huge hit due to this latest recession.

      Not only that, but upon entering the workforce, even with an AA degree, I found that I would actually be earning less over-all than I had been for comparable work almost 30 years ago.

      So the answer as to why there is an increase in food stamp recipients over the past 40 years is actually an easy one: The actual compensation for most wage earners in America has gone down during this time, even after factoring in increased worker productivity, the addition of both spouses income in order to make ends meet, and the unrealized promise that ongoing tax decreases for the wealthy (which were supposed to create more and better jobs) unfortunately never materialized.

      So food stamps is not the real problem here, but is actually a symptom of a chronically anemic economy that has remained either stagnant or has, in most cases, actually degraded the average American’s earning power over the past 40 years.

      The facts supporting my assertions above are easy to determine if you choose to look for them.

      If, on the other hand, you choose not to recognize these as historical facts, well, then you have chosen to be nothing more than a misinformed pundit for a specific ideology, rather than a helpful member of our society.

      Sydney, in your future writings, please become someone interested in contributing in the dialog on how to raise the standard of living of all American’s more equitably – for the common benefit of the most of us – and not just for the financial self-indulgence of the very few of us.

      Reply
    • A. R. Sheldon
      Dec 09, 2012 - 02:47 AM

      Dear Moderator,

      Trying to figure out why several of my previous posts have been rejected by the moderator. They have my name (rather than pseudonyms as many here) and my email address. Nothing else is required that I can see, other than a modicum of common courtesy. If the thread is closed then just say so. Otherwise, please allow this comment to remain, as well as the following post:

      Ms. Phillips,
      While I am impressed that you can write a grammatically correct and well-constructed article about your experience in getting food stamps, what I feel is most lacking in your essay is historical perspective and facts.

      When I entered the workforce in the late 1970’s, the wages for entry level (and later on, more middle class) jobs was stagnant, and in relation to inflation and the cost of living of what the average American makes, the compensation for most wage earners has actually gone backward since then.

      For example, in 1983 I was employed in facilities maintenance for a major telephone company. After working there for three years the company restructured, prompting a job change. I then worked in the same field for the next 20 years with modest raises some years; but with declining health care and retirement contributions from my employers during this time, my earning power has actually steadily declined.

      I have since become unemployed (along with millions of others, thanks to the under regulated banking and mortgage industry fiscal crisis) and have been pursuing my AA degree in an attempt to continue contributing to the best of my abilities.

      Upon attempting to re-enter the workforce after Bush left office, I was utterly stunned to find out that wages and compensation packages across the nation for entry level and middle class jobs have taken a huge hit due to this latest recession.

      Not only that, but upon entering the workforce, even with an AA degree, I found that I would actually be earning less over-all than I had been for comparable work almost 30 years ago.

      So the answer as to why there is an increase in food stamp recipients over the past 40 years is actually an easy one: The actual compensation for most wage earners in America has gone down during this time, even after factoring in increased worker productivity, the addition of both spouses income in order to make ends meet, and the unrealized promise that ongoing tax decreases for the wealthy (which were supposed to create more and better jobs) unfortunately never materialized.

      So food stamps is not the real problem here, but is actually a symptom of a chronically anemic economy that has remained either stagnant or has, in most cases, actually degraded the average American’s earning power over the past 40 years.

      The facts supporting my assertions above are easy to determine if you choose to look for them.

      If, on the other hand, you choose not to recognize these as historical facts, well, then you have chosen to be nothing more than a misinformed pundit for a specific ideology, rather than a helpful member of our society.

      Sydney, in your future writings, please become someone interested in contributing in the dialog on how to raise the standard of living of all American’s more equitably – for the common benefit of the most of us – and not just for the financial self-indulgence of the very few of us.

      Reply
  27. James
    Nov 01, 2012 - 06:01 AM

    So much stigma with using food stamps. If you ever feel people judging you for using food stamps, you should buy a food stamps covers skins to protect your food stamps use privacy… lolz… I bought one and nobody knows I am using a food stamps card anymore, http://www.foodstampscovers.com … hope it help! Don’t get stereotype, get food stamps covers! hehehhehe

    Reply
  28. Shone
    Oct 01, 2012 - 06:14 PM

    Seriously? It’s $200/month. I spend that on gas for my car in a month! We are one of the richest nations on the planet, but people want to complain about helping our poorer citizens eat. A measly 6% of our tax money goes towards ALL welfare programs (see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/91971372@N00/4719687379/ ). If you want to complain about misappropriation of tax funds, there are a lot of other areas (such as defense) that you can attack.

    Reply
  29. Me
    Sep 05, 2012 - 01:29 AM

    Why would anyone have more than 2 kids this day and age? If you spawn 5 kids then you better make sure your marriage is rock solid or your husband has a great insurance policy. I have NO children because it is hard enough taking care of myself–I can’t imagine being a single mother and having 5 mouths to feed. Those kids were your choice so now buck up.

    Reply
    • Sean
      Oct 18, 2012 - 08:29 PM

      you’re great. Thank you

      Reply
  30. vindicator
    Aug 22, 2012 - 04:00 AM

    Food stamps feed more than hungry students. They feed
    local economies.

    Reply
  31. suz marie
    Aug 19, 2012 - 07:28 AM

    The research was good, not scientific but it exosed just how easy it is to receive government handouts. Many of you have assumed that the writer would not return the card; I believe she will.
    Welfare was designed to be a safety net, not a way of life. Allowing people to receive benefits from 2-4 years is more than a safety net in my opinion.
    I was recently laid off and my unemployment ended after 1 year. I didn’t ask not to work but that is the situation many of us have ended up with. Welfare recipients, many of whom are able bodied, could work but chose not to but they get to receive benefits much longer (twice as long) that the person laid off and newly unemployment. Let’s balance out the safety net here folks. Unemployment and welfare should last the same amount of time. And, so what if she is receiving grants. One has to qualify and many non citizens are able to have access to grants galore.

    Reply
  32. cookie
    Aug 08, 2012 - 04:11 PM

    Bullshit. :) I can’t even get food stamps, an ima jobless/homeless/student person. All the $ I do get goes away to buy college books n supplies n pay for my car/Sleeping area n gas.. I’m hungry man.

    Reply
  33. Brandon
    Jul 27, 2012 - 02:02 AM

    Thank you for the post, it made me feel a tad better knowing other College Kids are in the same boat I am. I work 2 jobs and have to take out loans just to make ends meet in my Studio Apartment. Having some help paying my basic groceries will definitely help me out. I’ve wanted to do this whole college thing all on my own, with my parents being unwilling to help out with my costs. But, I need help. Did my best, but I need the government to buy my bread for a while.

    Reply
  34. Atrina
    Jul 20, 2012 - 08:40 PM

    I happen to be one of those that need the extra assistance. Being a single mother of five children is difficult. I’m divorced and don’t have any family close by that can help me when times get hard. I only use the system when I need to which happens to be now. It always disturbs me when I find people making comments about the ‘lazy’ people on welfare. I’ve always been a hard worker and have even served my country in the United States Air Force. I understand that some people take advantage of the system and that is beyond unfortunate but not everyone does this. Do any of you that have made disparaging remarks have any idea how to feed five kids on a single low-income and make it in this world? I have in the past but have lost my job. Yes–I am getting food stamps as soon as my loss of employment letter gets to DHS. Yes–I am looking for employment so that I can stop using food stamps so another unfortunate soul will have food to eat for themselves and their children. I am also going to school to be a psychologist. For those who made negative comments that lumped everyone using food stamps into the classification of a loser or lazy, I hope that you will rethink your comment and have compassion on those less fortunate than yourselves.

    Reply
  35. Logan
    Jul 14, 2012 - 11:41 AM

    Listening to everyones banter makes you wonder why they even argue in the first place. Listen we are all entitled to our opinions, and one’s opinion is hard to shift. That being said the article is about a FUNDAMENTAL GAP IN GOVERNMENT SPENDING. As humans we all ought to have empathy toward our brethren, I don’t see why a small portion of our taxes can’t go to americas future? If we ever hope to turn around a country where 15% of it’s citizens are on food stamps why shouldn’t we have the kindness and generosity to pay it forward? On that note their should also be stipulations on food stamps, such as time durations, enrollment in state vocational programs, and etc. I find it wrong for people to mooch off the system, so maybe states can provide a more thorough screening process to differentiate the one’s in need and the lazy one’s. Kudos to the author because I feel she deserves it, well written articles that exploits loopholes and stirs emotions.

    Reply
    • Atrina
      Jul 20, 2012 - 08:48 PM

      In this economy it seems to be more and more difficult to find a job (or to keep it if you can’t afford childcare) so it may be difficult to determine who the ‘lazy’ ones are that are ‘mooching’ off the system. Don’t get me wrong. There are some that are ‘mooching’. I happen to not be one of them. Sometimes their checks-and-balance system does screen out the bad apples but not all of the time. I was denied once when my ex-husband was serving in Afghanistan and I couldn’t get a letter confirming child support. I understand the need for the letter but for people who are on bad terms with their ex’s may have a hard time getting assistance. Since I have almost completed my degree I suppose doors may be opening for me that will allow me to find a job that will pay me enough to pay for food and daycare but until that time I will have to occasionally seek assistance. (And I wish my experience past experiences with DHS had been as easy as the authors). :D

      Reply
  36. Andrew
    Jul 10, 2012 - 08:51 PM

    Good job Syndey. You went and got some real data. Ignore those who say you should have done more. What you found out was valuable information that even the department who administers the program doesn’t seem to have a clue about. They crow about how little fraud and mistakes are made. But those like you, who are intellectually honest and care to get actual data, have easily shown the USDA to be an incompetent steward of our money, just like most of the rest of the behemouth government. If the system is lax in TN, then it is undoubtedly lax in many other states.

    Reply
  37. Kristina
    Jun 28, 2012 - 02:36 AM

    Very well written!!! I agree with a lot of what you said; however there are families out there who do need it. It just depends on who takes advantage of it. When both parents are working full time and barely making over 2000 dollars a month with four kids, and bills eat that all up, then there is a need for help, especially with food. Were it the days of old when a milk cost less than 50 cents and you could get candy for half a penny…then we’d be golden. But alas! it seems America has become too materialistic and big for itself.

    Reply
  38. jess
    Jun 13, 2012 - 06:27 AM

    Meant even not revenue
    So many grammar mistakes cause of auto correct. Sorry!

    Reply
  39. jess
    Jun 13, 2012 - 06:23 AM

    I am currently a cashier at a super center. I am also starting my second year of college in August. But um not gonna talk about me. It angers me that the people who have these EBT cards and use them are using money for fast food for soda candy and ecetra. Then u see these pwiplw with the latest phones and brand names clothes and act like they are all that. Some people can’t even speak English and some can’t even use the damn card. They swipe and stare at me. And like okay I paid give now what. Noooo!!! Can’t u read u r not done. These pple need to learn English and learn how to use the card.these women have their hair down and nails and have a coach bag and yet they on this damn ebt card.
    don’t go saying that food stamps are your right and your own money cause u pay taxes cause others pay taxes too and they don’t get now double mobwu back every single month. Heck u get like what ten times more then what u even payed maybe. God what is gonna happen to his country. And at least these people cab try to learn damnenglish. Yesterday this girl came with.wick check and she had to pay 86 cents of her own money and I am telling her n she goes no anglis.. had to wait for for another Spanish speaking customer to translate.. then another customer comes speaking to me in Spanish.at least learn numbers in English if not a single word

    I think u have to be able tu know a few words if English to. Revenue eligible for ebt. I am not being racist here.

    Some people get over a thousand dollars for food a month. Seriously??? My house we spend around less than 500 on food and all that is vegetables and healthy food not no damn fast food what all the ebt pple buy

    Reply
    • Shone
      Oct 01, 2012 - 06:17 PM

      Why does what they buy anger you? Perhaps they brought all of their healthy food on another shopping trip. As a cashier, you should be familiar with WIC and how it determines what you can and can’t buy…and what a huge pain it is to process. Do you really want all food stamps to turn into that?

      Reply
  40. Veronica
    Jun 11, 2012 - 06:21 PM

    It’s not easy to get food stamps. I have three children, their father is nowehre to be found, and im trying to support them on a waitresses salary. I make about 80 a week in tips, and 30 every two weeks on my check. I’ve applied twice for food stamps. The first time they lost all my information, so I had to reapply. That was four months ago. I cannot get anyone to return my calls, and don’t have the gas money to drive to the dfcs office which is 30 minutes away. Today our electricity was shut off because I’ve been using every cent I have to feed my kids. I applied for energy assistance as well, three months ago. I’ve heard nothing back. Trying to get assistance for me and my children is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Frankly, it disgusts me that single students are getting food stamps when the government won’t even give it to my kids.
    I guess it’s because they’d have to shell out a lot more money for my family than one college student, so they simply ignore our pleas. I’m looking into shelters now, and have been informed that even then, we can only stay for two months. I make 350 dollars every two weeks on my check and am left with 30 dollars. This food stamp money is MINE, but they won’t give it to me. they take 110 every two weeks out for SS, which I may never see. I am disgusted and ashamed of our government. They give benefits to the wrong people, like the girl who wrote this article.

    Reply
    • Me
      Sep 05, 2012 - 01:35 AM

      Veronica: If I were wealthy I would help you out alot. Can you list an e-mail so we can send some money to help? I don’t have much but I would be willing to help you.

      Reply
    • NO ONE DESERVES TO STARVE
      Jul 03, 2013 - 10:01 PM

      You can’t pick and choose who should starve and who shouldn’t. You should be ashamed for thinking your starving kids are more qualified than a starving college student or vice versa. NO ONE deserves to be starving!!! For you to be disgusted if a college student gets to eat, is despicable. You should be happy for them as they would be happy for you and your family for getting the necessary assistance.

      Reply
  41. suzanne
    Jun 05, 2012 - 12:33 AM

    I as a taxpaper since I was 16- and now 52, have been unable to find work . I applied for food stamps out of desperation. I did this after debting for months because I didnt want to tax the system…However I pay into that system- I deserve to eat, as it is i am in danger of losing my home now.

    Reply
  42. Amanda
    May 30, 2012 - 05:12 PM

    I am a student at a community college with no parents and no support system. I have never asked for help in my life (I’m 27) and have no car and no hands up from family. I was just laid off from my job and now, when I need food stamps the most, I cannot get them because I’m not employed 20 hours a week. I think it’s very strange that an unemployed student who is trying to better themselves, but has hit hard economic times and can’t find work, can’t get the assistance they need to stay in school and try to make a life. I’m to the point where I’m about to write “Please help, need food and textbook money” on a cardboard box and stand on the corner like an idiot. I really can’t think of anything else… I’ve applied for everything within walking distance, I can’t take the bus because I am literally flat broke. It’s not easy to get food stamps for everyone – like me, even though I’m down to my last bag of potatoes and onions.

    Reply
  43. Salena p.
    May 15, 2012 - 05:59 PM

    Just because you don’t activate your card dosent mean that, that 200 dollars just goes away or stays the same! Every month they will add 200 dollars on the card regardless if you use it or not so keep that in mind when your running low on money and starving

    Reply
    • annoyed
      Oct 13, 2013 - 08:44 AM

      yes and she said she wont activate it so all that money continues to go on her card she wont use, yet it could be going on other peoples card that need and will use it but instead puts us further in debt. also i did see a previous comment about what people buy on ebt i agree! being a cashier at a turkey hill i have developed anger issues ntowards some people using their ebt there. this one lady abuses the shit out of it. she makes everyone in our store remember her pin and throws her card at us everytime like look if ur gonna use this card to buy slushies everyday atleast type in your own pin number! then shell whip out a 20 for ciggerettes… or another lady that wont stop reproducing she has six kids now and alotta food stamps. but what does she buy? ill tell ya. every week her and her pack of brats come in and load up the counter with junk food walking away and coming back a few times till theres a mountain of junk and whips out her precious card to pay for it all. i understand she could buy her normal food elsewhere but if she does she should not be recieving all that money to have enough left over to buy her brats mountians of junk every week! i know her name her kids names and memoried her pin and her kids fav snacks…tell me thats not a messed up system. abuse!!

      Reply
  44. Lou Gots
    May 12, 2012 - 04:47 PM

    I do not concur with spurning some entitlement to which we are, after all, entitled. If sheep weren’t meant to be fleeced, God would not have made them with all that wool. “Baaa-a-a-a-a, Baaa-a-a-a-a Fleece me!” http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/outdoors/2011603516_nwwnextbets15.html?prmid=obnetwork

    “Entitlements” are not charity. They are legal rights. The government takes some people’s wealth and gives it out to others. Don’t you dare say the sheep don’t consent to the fleecing. That’s what all these elections are about.

    Now, if you think this system is illegitimate, that it is unjust, that it should be done away with, why, that is something we should be talking about. Just making voluntary contributions to the system by not picking up your share of the manna from Heaven is not going to end it. The Beast dies when the Beast starves. Tea overboard!

    Reply
  45. bobdog
    May 12, 2012 - 09:42 AM

    What puzzling, argumentative comments.

    It’s like somebody wants to take away your free money or something, which you so richly deserve, since it’s, uh, free and all. And besides, it’s not like it costs anybody anything. It’s government money, not real money or something.

    You sound so threatened. When you get a little older, you’ll come to understand that “free government money” isn’t really free at all. It costs you a piece of your soul.

    If the program was discontinued tomorrow, would you just die or something? Stop whining and get a real job that lets you get through school. If you can’t imagine life without government assistance, you can’t imagine much.

    Reply
  46. Redman
    Apr 30, 2012 - 04:29 AM

    Sydney, great job of investigative journalism. The only people here who have a complaint are liberals because they love to play the victim game. They are under-achievers. Obama and the left are promoting this welfare lifestyle. It weakens people. Sure everyone needs help once in a while. Toughest guy in the workd hurts his leg, and you give him a cane and therapy he may come back even stronger. Put him in a wheelchair for no reason push him around for a year and he’ll never recover. Foodstamps = democrat votes. The more they give out the more votes they hope to get. Keep up the muckraking!!!

    Reply
    • Veronica
      Jun 11, 2012 - 06:31 PM

      You’re wrong. I’m very conservative, voted against Obama. My family was secure until he got in office. We never needed for anything until now. I am a white republican, three kids, all have the same father. He left us, and cannot be found. I work as a waitress, and was left with our 1200 dollar mortgage, vehicle and insurance payment, utilities, gas, food, and kids necessities, all with making less than 500 dollars a month, and I cannot get approved for assistance. I’ve not paid the mortgage in months, so it’s being foreclosed on now. The electricity was turned off today for two reasons, one, I spend pretty much every cent I have trying to keep food in their bellies, and I applied for energy assistance months ago and have not heard anything about that either. People that say they see EBT users buy candy and junk, that wouldn’t be me. We need bread, milk, frozen veggies, meat. I honestly don’t know what to do now. I have nothing of any value to sell other than my car, and I need that. I thank God for my friends internet and phone, otherwise I’d have no way to contact anyone. It’s not just liberals anymore. Conservative families that were once secure are in poverty, but no one hears our please for help. I’m utterly lost.

      Reply
    • Joe
      Oct 10, 2013 - 12:23 AM

      Oh please, spare me. Syndney has a sense of entitlement as much as anyone mooching off the taxpayers. Sydney says “Most of the students I know who use food stamps are hard-working, productive individuals whose parents won’t compensate them for the costs of college.” First of all Sydney, it’s your responsibility to pay for your education. Your parents aren’t obligated to “compensate” you for this you liberal brat. Second, your friends have the option to take out a student loan. People who are destitute can’t get a student loan for food.

      Reply
  47. LoAshleigh
    Apr 09, 2012 - 05:18 AM

    Great Article! I understand every government system can’t be perfect but with welfare it seems that they don’t even try to make it fair. I work at a convenience store and nothing is more frustrating than seeing people come in and buy candy, chips, soda, etc. With their EBT cards. What really angers me is when they buy “snacks” with their EBT and turn around and pay for alcohol and tobacco in cash. There is proof right in front of me that there is absolutely no way that they are in dire need of the government help. There is an obvious difference in the people who need it and who do not. It is so frustrating that me at age 16 has a job and money taken out of every check goes to people like that. I have never understood why I have to be drug tested to work but people who use the welfare system do not? I know many of the people who use welfare truly need it. On the other hand there are many people using the system who are drug addicts and the fact that they don’t have to pay for food only feeds there addiction. The whole system is just frustrating and I can only hope that the government goes back and fixes the huge holes in this system.

    Reply
  48. stephg
    Mar 27, 2012 - 10:40 PM

    So aren’t you just wasting the money since you aren’t going to activate it and use it? The state will continue to put the money on the card until you close your SNAP case. Yeah, eventually the money will go back to the state, but not until your account is dormant for a while. If you don’t want the benefits, CLOSE YOUR CASE. I work for the Human Services Division in one of our great 50 states, and while I don’t agree with all of the policies, I do know that a lot of people who need the help, get it. College students are debatable in my opinion as to whether or not they really need the help. When I was in college my husband and I applied for Food Stamps, and only when I started working for HSD did I find out that I was denied incorrectly. Yes, my husband and I did just fine in college, but it sure would have helped, and maybe we wouldn’t have ended up with thousands in student loans and a decent amount of credit card debt.

    Reply
  49. Mary
    Feb 23, 2012 - 01:55 PM

    @Single Mom- She did not commit any crime. She legally met the requirements for the food stamps. Her personal FEELING of not needing them doesn’t make it a crime for her to apply. Get a clue.

    Reply
  50. hannah
    Jan 29, 2012 - 07:01 PM

    A real experiment:

    Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Written from the perspective of the undercover journalist, it sets out to investigate the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act on the “working poor” in the United States.

    Reply

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