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Waste not, want not

In the P-G (and the Trib too, I think) the other day was an article about PA making the amount of food stamps that people receive contingent upon their assets. People under age 60 with more than $2,000 in savings and other assets, such as a second car, will no longer be eligible for food stamps. For people over 60, the limit is $3,250.

I agree that assets should be considered. If someone has, let's say, $50,000 in savings but is making only minimum wage, I don't think that person should get food stamps. After all, they have plenty in the bank to pay for every day expenses. But to say, for example, that a 35-year-old single parent who scrimped to save $3,000 over the past five years for an emergency should be denied food stamps when another person who never bothered to save a dime should get assistance is, quite simply, unfair. And what if two parents both need a car to go to work? The bus is not the most feasible situation for everyone, so why punish those people?

My parents are both retired pharmacists. My dad loves to tell stories from when he worked for a major drug chain. Once a man was mad that he had to pay a $4.00 copay for a prescription. He was complaining to my dad that the last time it was free and he was not going to pay. My dad told the guy if he did not pay, he could not get the prescription. The man proceeded to pull out several hundred dollar bills. Another time a woman was bragging to my dad that she was pregnant with her sixth or seventh child and that meant she would be getting another $125 (or some amount like that) in welfare. The picture of stupidity and idiocy, IMO.

It is because of people like those that many are distrustful and against government assistance. And for sure the government has a responsibility to weed out as many of the abusers as possible (I am looking at you lottery winners!). But this blog writer is not one to punish the conscientious people. And I am afraid this new edict will do just that.

What say you?


Anonymous said…
It is unfortunate but there is waste and fraud everywhere, and it is quite difficult to stop. As a result of this change, there could be people who will go out and spend that money in savings just to get the food stamps.
I agree with your concern. I'm as suspicious of those trying to limit aid as I am of those trying to abuse it. Not sure you can make across-the-board rules. Should be case by case. We shouldn't punish retirees by making them spend their small nest eggs until they really have nothing.
chris h. said…
How will they know how much"savings" someone has? I could empty my savings account and 6 mos later just say I spent the money when I really have cash under my mattress. If they are relying on people to tell the truth and declare their assets...well, I think we know that's not so reliable.
Facie said…
Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Anonymous: I can bet a few people would try to spend their money, but if you took the time to save it to begin with, you probably don't have it in you to blow it.

Bagger: That article quoted some senior who had enough in savings which would result in her losing her aid, but not enough to sustain her for more than two years. Sad. Case by case is probably the way to go, but would be too time-consuming and cost too much, I imagine.

Chris: When I applied for financial aid for J's school, they wanted to know how much $ we had everywhere, including retirement and house, which really irked me. As if I would take money out of the last two to pay for my kid's elementary education?! Regardless, I have wondered if anyone bothered to verify what people put down. I doubt the diocese takes the time. I must admit, I have said, only half-joking, that Brian and I should take Jordan to Disney and do a bunch of other fun things so we could deplete our savings enough to let us qualify for aid. I could never do it, though.
chris h. said…
Half the time I think, "Why am I saving so hard? I could be dead tomorrow." I could never just spend it all, but if I do live to be elderly I'll probably regret I didn't have more fun while I was able.

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