A Philadelphia comedian, Jay Jay McGuire, was going around posting signs at stores with a message for people who use EBT cards.
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards are used for the purchase of food on the program Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
Thirty-nine years ago, I was a single parent of a one-year-old with a full-time job while going to college part-time. During that time, I was also the recipient of the State of Minnesota food stamp program.
I was extremely grateful for the benefit it provided myself and child at the time.
There seems to be a large misconception about the average person who utilizes the SNAP program. And ignorance is in abundance as this comedian is a testimony to.
These statistics are from 2013: Of those receiving food assistance, 48.7% are children, 8% are elderly (60+ and older), 19.8% are disabled, non-elderly, and 23.6% are a non-disabled adult (18-49) in a childless home.
Of that 23.6 % able-bodied adult group without dependents, they receive only 3 months of benefits in any three-year period, unless they are working a minimum 20+ hours per week.
It is important to note any household gross income, in order to qualify, must be at or below 130% of the poverty level. In 2017, the 100% poverty level for a one-person household is $13,670. So, you need to be 30% below that.
In 2013 the House of Representatives passed a measure that cut 40 billion dollars from the SNAP Program over the next 10 years. The 2018 Budget is looking for another $193 billion in cuts over the next decade from the program. Or roughly — 25% of the program’s budget.
The irresponsible rhetoric of “Get a job” when the majority of people receiving food assistance do have jobs. Children, elderly, and disabled are unable to work.
I can’t imagine the embarrassment and discouragement a sign like that would cause for someone struggling. I think of myself 39 years ago seeing that sign as I walked into that store.
For a very short period of time, food assistance gave me a step up until I could carry myself.
Today I am thankful
- I am so blessed to have what I have.
- My time with my grandson this afternoon. A Santi day is always a good day.
- Oh, Lawd, my little studio is hot today. I am thankful for my ceiling fan. I need to get my air conditioner in.
Please, in the days ahead, pay it forward if you can.
affectionately yours, Laura
*Forbes | Who Receives ‘Food Stamps’? And Why It Is Critical To Continue Their Support | Beth Huffman | September 23, 2013
*Mother Jones | Trump Takes a Big Bite out of His Voters’ Food Stamps | Jenny Luna | May 23, 2017