Editor: This was sent to us as a comment from an anonymous food stamp worker to this article posted back in February of 2009. We wanted to elevate it so more would see it.
by a food stamp worker
I would just like to clear up a few things. I am one of those horrible Food Stamp workers some of you like to complain about, so I do know a little bit about the subject. The rules for FS are created by the Federal Government, not case workers. Please do not blame us for doing our job.
I, like you, need my job, and breaking the rules will cause me to be fired.
Food Stamps does not care what color you are, that has no bearing, it’s only income. I would like to point out that nobody is “entitled” to benefits, people might ‘qualify’, but free food is not a right. Case workers are human, overworked, tired, stressed, they do make mistakes, if you think one has been made, appeal, the number is on the back of the Notice of Action.
The income that we are required to use is Gross, not the net.
For instance, my gross is $1906 biweekly, my net is $988. It’s not uncommon for me to see people with paychecks just like mine screaming that they only have $1800 to live on, when their gross is much higher because they have 401k, deferrred comp, meals, tips, even money directly deposited into a savings account. (Which they tend to forget to report).
I agree, the $2000 property limit is ridiculous, but that’s why they exempt cars. They know it’s not possible to make that property limit with a car. Really, the $2000 just means money in the bank that you have access to. Someone posted a list of property, yeah, you have a lump sum. We expect you buy food, you have stocks and bonds. If I were hungry, you betcha I would cash them in and feed my family. And my bank account goes down to less than $20 before every payday. I wouldn’t expect someone to give me free food just so I could keep my bank account fat, I use that money to feed my family.
I know that the drug felon rules are hard on some people and some really don’t deserve to have it that hard, but the history of FS shows that many drug felons misuse their FS, sell them for cash to buy drugs, etc. We are not “doing this to your 5 year old” – you did this to yourself, nobody made you be a drug felon.
And that whole thing about the investigator going out, that only happens if there has been previous fraud or you’ve actually lied to us in an interview. I, personally, have never had to send one out. So whoever says that’s happened to them, well, that would be because of the fraud you commited before, once you lie to us, we don’t believe you anymore, and we DO document everything.
One of the other interesting things about FS which really has nothing to do with anything, is that many people use their FS in ways we would not expect. We have clients that use all of their FS in mini markets, 7-11 stores, etc, where a gallon of milk is twice the price of a normal grocery store and/or they buy prime rib, lobster, crab, imported cheeses, etc. with their FS. I watch them all the time in the grocery store, then they call us and tell us that they are out and need more.
And lastly, having someone crying because their children are starving makes you feel pretty bad, until you see them in the store buying a carton of Marlboros an hour later.