I am surprised that someone who wrote & got published in a widely read local publication a rather scathing piece on the Food Stamps program & process, who seemed to be by the end of the article advocating the utilization of this public assistance program, would not take the time to research the current process & criteria by which eligibility is determined. For members of the public whose first introduction to the existence of said program is this rather biased piece of journalism, I would like to clarify some things:
1. You will not spend hours in the Koster office if you are only applying for Food Stamps. In general, you probably can get thru the process in about 1.5 hrs from beginning to end.
2. FNS (Food & Nutrition Services) decided that you can molest a child, rape, murder, etc., but you CANNOT have a felony DRUG conviction & expect Food Stamp assistance. Don't expect it to make sense. And by the way, even if you have a felony drug conviction, you may still be eligible.
You'd be wise to answer the question honestly, so as not to commit FRAUD.
3. There are forms, yes. It's a bureaucracy. Mostly, you're checking the occasional box, signing & dating. Veterans who have actually PROTECTED this country have to go thru the same process as the never employed 20-something who is passing thru town on his way to Reggae on the River (or whatever they're calling it these days). An ex-con goes thru the same process as the 87 yr old woman who worked all her life, paid into the system & is now expected to live on $900/mo in Social Security (if she's lucky).
4. Rest assured that the "nosy" questions being asked are all pertinent to establishing a case: proof of income, resources & identity of individuals requesting aid.
5. All vehicles are exempt, including those boats & off road bikes so popular here in Shangri La that, if sold, could be used to buy food.
Households with a child under the age of 18 MAY have the resource limit waived if there are excess resources & eligibility may still exist.
6. Food Stamps are a SUPPLEMENT meant to help you stay nourished...not feed your vehicle (which, contrary to popular belief, is NOT a necessity) or attend to your feminine needs. It sucks but anyone paying attention can figure out that this country isn't concerned with truly caring for its citizens or the Deficit Reduction Act would have never happened.
I was relieved when towards the end of this article, it seemed that Mrs Savage was actually encouraging use of the program contrary to what the first half suggested. There is NO shame in doing what needs to be done to get one's needs met. But if you're holding your hand out to the government, expect certain aspects of your life to be a little less private.
Lastly, don't believe every negative & bitter story you hear or read about applying for public assistance. Take time to research it. A simple call can answer a lot of questions about the process anonymously.
In Print This Week:
Apr 10, 2014
vol XXV issue 15
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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