I just did my food stamp re cert last month and got a surprise! I got a raise! A few years ago, food stamps were cut a lot and never restored. I got 50 bucks cut off mine. My amount has remained pretty much steady at the lower rate in the years since then. This year, however, I got a 21 dollar raise, that coincidentally, puts me above the 90 dollar level for a month. I would be happy, but, there’s a new law that Trump wants to go into effect for food stamp recipients. If you get over 90 food stamps a month you will get HALF (or so they say) the value of your stamps on your card in a FOOD BOX. Trump made it sound like it would be like a “Blue Apron” affair, with gourmet fixings for gourmet meals. Not really.
Blue Apron gives you exact amounts for each ingredient in a gourmet recipe and provides you with two portions each of dinner for about 20 bucks a person. It is a luxury item. Buying ingredients yourself is cheaper but there is waste and no color photo cards to use for instructions. There are take home meal services as well, but those are also luxury items for people with special yuppie diets like vegan, raw, low gluten, etc….
No, the BOX will contain COMMODITIES. These food items are produced by private industry and sold to governments that use tax dollars to get them. They are lower quality goods and are sometimes found at food banks/mental health inpatient places/ and low income apartment buildings sometimes give them out. The selection is basic pantry goods. It’s the noodles, oatmeal, canned vegetables, canned fruit and peanut butter routine. It’s very depressing to eat that way so few do it. There is also meat in a can that tastes…interesting.
I first ran into commodities at the place I stayed at in 1985-1986. They had huge cans of peanut butter with a black and white label saying USDA: donated by the American People. They also had dried milk that was impossible to mix and, back then, government cheese, which tastes odd, but is good in cooking.
I have also gotten many commodities at food banks such as canned fruit, vegetables, dried fruit and peanut butter and stuff like rice and noodles and spaghetti. This would be no way to live long term.
There are some people who abuse food stamps by buying only soda and candy and chips with them, but most people buy food items with only some junk food. If I get the box, which seems likely, since I got that “raise”, I will have to eat cheaply made food I hate and only get half my money in food stamps. So, instead of 70 dollars in stamps I’d get 45 and a bunch of crap I hate. The people at the human services office where I go don’t like me so I doubt I’d get a raise unless the BOX was in the works.
I can pretty much guarantee that the boxes will be coming out. Human services just lowered my stamps a few months before that since I got 17 extra dollars a month on my check. Food stamps wrote right away and told me they were lowering my amount by 7 dollars. Also, I have noticed the slower growth in my checks in recent years. For a few years, they were virtually flat, and then I got the food stamp cut.
There are too many people on benefits since the government stopped Welfare in the 1990s. The amount of people on benefits rose by the amount of people dropped from the Welfare, or AFDC, rolls. I guess everyone became disabled. Corporations are not paying people well, and rent is soaring so even working people get food stamps.
For me to live in a typical apartment, I would have to make about 20 bucks an hour. The minimum wage is about 10 dollars an hour here. The 20 dollars would be based on a 40 hour work week which no one gives anymore. How do people survive? Food stamps only cover about a week of food or 2 weeks if you eat beans or other cheap stuff. How do people eat? Why do so many eat out???
P.S. I was approved for my new amount in May and found out I got NOTHING this month at the grocery store checkout line, of course! Do you think Human Services reads this blog? My account still says zero and it’s the 16th.