- Many food stamp recipients have employment income: Over 60% of participating households earn income that they contribute toward the family food budget—it’s just not enough to stave off hunger.
- No one is buying filet mignon with food stamps: The maximum monthly allotment—$200 per individual and $668 for a family of four—nets out to around $2 per meal.
In the US, we consider programs like Social Security, Medicare, disability pensions, and disaster relief to be social insurance. All of us pay in and, in times of trouble, any one of us can take out. Usually, there is no stigma attached to taking help from a social insurance program; we think that that’s what it’s there for and that we should take it if we need it. Yet we consider payment to families with young children, food stamps, general relief, an Medicaid to be “public assistance,” akin the charity, undeserved handouts given by a generous “us” to a handicapped or malingering “them.”
As a consequence, federally administered “social insurance” programs have substantially better benefits than “public assistance.” Compare the average $394 TANF payment for a family of three to the usual $515 payment for a single disabled person covered by the federal SSI program. As another example, in the 20 years before the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, AFDC benefits (adjusted for inflation) declined by 40% while Social Security benefits remained stable.
« Older Not there yet, but cause for hope... | Debugging Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments