Food Stamps Essay
The Food Stamp Program was created in 1964 to help low-income families buy food. This is a great program that helps people that are financially struggling, put food on the table. Over the years though, there have been many debates over the fact that there are people out there taking advantage of this benefit and if the program really is doing all it can to stop this. Created during the Great Depression, the food stamp program picked up around the 1960’s and since has risen. Though all can apply, not all are eligible for food stamps.
Legal immigrants and children under the age of sixteen are all qualified to receive food stamps under certain conditions. There are many stipulations when it comes to income as to who is able to receive this help for example a food stamp participant may not have over $2000 worth of resources in his/her home each month (ssa. gov 1). The only exception to this term is if there is a person sixty years of age or older in the house, then income stipulation will rise to $3000 a month because of Social Security checks that will be coming in.
Though many are dependent of food stamps, the actual value per person is surprisingly one dollar a day. Since 1996 many cuts have been put in place but then undone. Two-thirds of these cuts still remain in effect to this day, and still just as inflation so does food stamps spending (Rosenbaum 3). According to the Huffington Post, “In 2010, the total cost of food stamp redemption in the U. S rose 29 percent from the previous year, totaling around sixty-four billion” (Bradford 2). The food stamp program helps out millions of people struggling and it benefits others too.
At the beginning of this program, users had a choice of foods they could buy. The program was later changed to limit amounts and products that were able to be purchased (Guthrie 1). By doing so, the government was attempting to promote healthier living. The USDA has since made an even bigger effort to educate its users in nutrition. By doing this they are encouraging its users to make better food choices. Restricting purchases of unhealthy foods and beverages has been suggested as a way to fight obesity (Guthrie 1). Using your everyday retailer’s to make your food stamps purchases also allows the supporting of agricultural markets.
Food stamps were found to make up twenty-five percent of purchasing power for families with low income. Farmers, food companies and program participants benefit from the spending that increases due to the food stamp program. Not only does this program benefit the general public but with the use of statistics, researchers were able to find that food stamps have been able to tremendously lower the rates of child poverty (LeBlanc 3). In 2000, with a four percent lowering rate, food stamps brought 500,000 kids out of poverty.
Though the food stamp is a great program that helps the certain percent of the population that finds itself in need, it does have its flaws. For instance, millionaires are now eligible for food stamps with the understanding that they have no monthly income or hardly any. A gentleman named Leroy Fick from Michigan hit a lottery jackpot, winning $2 million (Bovard 1). After winning the lottery, Mr. Fick was still eligible for food stamps because he chose to a large lump sum payment for his winnings, instead of monthly payment. Instead of being considered income, the winnings were considered assets.
From 2007 to today, the number of people participating in the program has almost doubled (Jackson 1). Along with the doubling in users come the costs to fund the program in which also rises. But with this drastic increase of people joining the program, comes problems with fraud. The government says that food stamp trafficking has dropped to one percent in the past decade. Food stamp trafficking happens when people swipe their EBT card and get the cash from it instead of getting groceries with it. Once this money is handed to them it’s hard to say what it will go towards.
With any Food stamp violations comes its consequences; violations could be considered lying about household information, withholding information or breaking a rule of the program. The punishment for this is only directed towards the person who committed the Intentional Program Violation (IPV) the rest of the household will continue to receive food stamps. Though there are always consequences for Food stamp violations the consequence hardly affects a violator that has a family (Dehaven 1). The family will still receive the food stamps and so the violator will still reap the benefits.