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Vent.... Food Stamp EBT Card


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We are self employed and work has been next to nothing. I didn't want to do this but we applied for a food stamp card and fuel assistance.

 

So I send in my paperwork for the food stamps. A week later a get a food stamp card with a password to use it.

 

Okayyy....................

 

I call, because it doesn't give me a benefit amount.

 

Come to find out, everyone gets a card if you apply. You just have to wait and see if you are approved. WHAT????

 

 

What a waste of state tax dollars!!! Why send everyone a card if they have not approved you????

 

Now I see where my tax dollars are being spent.

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I'm sorry. Hopefully they'll approve your application soon to lighten your financial burden.

 

On another, lighter note -

One time we saw a sign from the city that read "Your Tax Dollars At Work."

When we drove around the corner, we saw 4 city workers playing hacky-sack in the middle of the road. I assumed (hope) they were waiting for cement to dry. :lol:

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I wonder how long the cards will come without a formal evaluation?

 

And on the other hand, I wonder if this is a "bad" thing? I'll probably hopefully (if a doctor ends up on food stamps, we've got some major problems!!) never have to do this but I'm going to guess that by the time people with pride actually do traipse down to the office, that it might be the very end for them. They might not have food for the next week or even days.

 

So what should the government do then? Let a family starve whilst they figure out how much money to give you?

 

It's a crime if you apply fraudulently so do they simply go after the liars once they have the time to catch them?

 

It must feel like the world is ending when you apply for welfare but from the size and desperation of our local food banks, it almost seems like everybody is in that position. So of course you wouldn't get evaluated for services right that second. There are simply too many people. :(

 

This actually seems to me like the system is working because it appears the OP does actually need help. I'd like to think my tax dollars are helping a classical homeschooler!

 

Jen

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I hated to apply for this. Really. It took me a long time to even get up the courage to do it. We have no food banks here at all. And I have no family to help. My friends are all in the same boat.:confused:

 

From what the worker told me, everyone gets a card and a pin number regardless if you qualify or not. If you apply, then send you a card. Her theory is that if you are approved, then can just go ahead and deposit the money into your card.

 

What bothers me about this food card, is that you can actually use it for liquor and gambling!!!!! OMG!!!

 

Now obviously I wouldn't be doing that. It irritates me that it is even allowed!!!

 

It just doesn't make sense to waste tax dollars on mailings and a card if they are not even going to approve you.

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What bothers me about this food card, is that you can actually use it for liquor and gambling!!!!! OMG!!!

 

That's crazy! Are you sure??? My brother has come to live with us for a while due to various life issues...one being he can't find a job! Anywhere!!! It seems no one wants to hire a 50 yo man. Very frustrating for him. He gets $200 a month in food stamps and has a card. He uses half of it to help our parents with food as they are really struggling too, and gives half to us to help with his food consumption. No way does he only eat $100 a month, but it does help. ANYHOW, his ONLY covers food. Period. If it's not a food item, the card will not cover it. He had to quite smoking because he can't buy cigarettes with it, let alone booze or gambling?! :glare::confused:

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How do you know you can use it for liquor? Did you try it?

 

Because here in Michigan, you can't. And the clerk simply puts that behind your other stuff or takes it off the belt.

 

I would be surprised if you could - but it's possible. I doubt you'd find anyone who thinks the government is 100% smart about stuff.

 

I have noticed that there is a lot I don't pay attention to at the grocery store and it seems like the check out clerks are trained in handling things very discreetly. I have also seen someone seperate out their food from their cigarettes and thought, "You jerk! If you can buy your food on my dime, quit the cigarettes and buy your own darn food!"

 

But then I looked at my cart and laughed at my cookies and Coca Cola. Can anyone hand me a rock to poke my eye out with first? :glare:

 

Jen

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Yes, It is one of the laws that was passed here. According to our state, it is your "civil right" to be able to buy liquor and gamble. See, the card gets money on it twice a month. Once for food/liquor/gambling/paper goods whatever....then the second deposit is free cash!!! Go to any store, buy something, and withdraw your balance. Wonder why we have such a drug problem here??? hmmmm...

 

I was furious when this law was passed. If you cannot afford food, and you are taking my tax dollars for it, you should not be able to buy liquor or gamble it away. Those are not needs, they are wants.

 

According to my worker, so many state employees were laid off, and they have an abundance of applicants(including illegals, don't even get me started) it is a minimum of a three week wait for an answer.

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My input here. Dh has a Ph.D degree and I have a BA. He worked hard and paid tons of taxes before he unexpectedly got the sack (literally). Took us almost 18 months to apply for food stamps and yes, we were starting to economize how much to eat and let the kids eat first. No food pantries and such for us.

 

So we applied and got the EBT, thank God. I come from a welfare state where we pay high, high taxes, but where everyone can get help so I don't get the thing where I feel haughty or arrogant that others need help. I do feel a bit funny when I buy good things to eat on the card, but I am never ever going to judge anyone on what they choose to buy. I don't drink nor gamble nor condone those acts, but on the freedom that the US is built then it does not make sense to pre-choose what people can get. Otherwise it would become an extension of the WIC-program which is silly, almost ridiculous.

 

I do agree that clerks tend to be very discreet. You also learn to go to stores with self-checkout or where you don't have to say aloud via what you are paying. Nobody enjoys a hand-out, but in the end then we are in this together (IMO).

 

On another note, then we expect to get off EBT shortly and while we still have very little income (but it's there!!) then my concern now is how to survive on a very small amount because other bills need to get paid as well. I guess this is the wonder of being self-employed or starting up...

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Gambling and booze? Wow. Here in Minnesota, we can only buy food with our food assistance. You can't even buy cooked deli food, it has to be food that you prepare at home. I suppose one could withdraw the cash benefit and use it to go gamble, but you have to be so dirt poor to get cash assistance here that I can't imagine anyone on it could spare money to gamble with. Between dh and I, we work a combined 30 hours a week (he's been looking for a full-time job for over a year now) him at minimum wage, me slightly above (though only ten hours a week for me). And as poor as we are, we don't qualify for cash, only the food assistance.

 

Also, I didn't get my card until after we'd qualified, though I know that differs from state to state.

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In states that allow the ebt card to be used as an ATM for cash (California), gambling has been a huge problem. I think there is that temptation to try to "double" the money.

 

Some states allowed it to be used as an ATM with the reasoning that farmer's markets, u-pick produce, C.S.A.'s, etc. do not take the cards. I think that the motivation was good....encourage the use of fresh produce. But, so many people are not motivated to use it for this and have very little knowledge or passion for nutrition so the cash ends up being used for things that taxpayers should not pay for.

 

Sorry for your angst. ((hugs)) it must have been hard to see it come in the mail and then realize that the card wasn't activated.

 

Our church has a deacon benevolence fund and we do help qualifying families with groceries. Our deacons' wives actually do the grocery shopping themselves with an emphasis on nutrition and also make the deliveries.

 

Maybe there is a church in your area that does this as well. Many churches do have small food pantries for families that are referred to them but they don't advertise it because the influx of families would be so huge they wouldn't be able to keep it stocked.

 

Faith

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I suppose one could withdraw the cash benefit and use it to go gamble, but you have to be so dirt poor to get cash assistance here that I can't imagine anyone on it could spare money to gamble with.

 

Yes, this!! We make almost nothing, are a family of five, and get less than $400 for the month, and that includes all the special food we have to get for dd's allergies. Before we had ds it was less than $250/mo for a family of 4 with one being preggo. We have no spare money in the budget for other food whatsoever. It's just enough as it is. I can't imagine having enough on food stamps to go gambling :confused:. Of course you can't gamble in my state anyway. And if you buy a non-food item (or even a $5 rotisserie chicken), the card automatically doesn't process it and says you owe X amount still for that.

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Yes, this!! We make almost nothing, are a family of five, and get less than $400 for the month, and that includes all the special food we have to get for dd's allergies. Before we had ds it was less than $250/mo for a family of 4 with one being preggo. We have no spare money in the budget for other food whatsoever. It's just enough as it is. I can't imagine having enough on food stamps to go gambling :confused:. Of course you can't gamble in my state anyway. And if you buy a non-food item (or even a $5 rotisserie chicken), the card automatically doesn't process it and says you owe X amount still for that.

 

Gosh, I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you to make it with $250 for a family of four. :grouphug: We just got cut down to $260 for the three of us, and I have no idea how I'm going to do it. We don't have any extra money for food either- with our budget, once we pay for absolute necesseties such as rent and car insurance, we have literally $2 left. And we aren't even attempting to pay on things like our student loans.

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Washington has two types of benefits on the EBT cards: food and cash. The food benefit is restricted in weird ways.

 

Can Buy:

Soda

Candy

Bakery items

Red Bull Energy Drinks

Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Pizza

 

Can't Buy

Toilet Paper

Diapers

Precooked Deli Items

Rockstar Energy Drinks

 

If you buy anything that isn't covered by food stamps, you simply owe that amount after the card is processed.

 

If you get cash benefit, which is much harder to qualify for, you can use it for anything. It's on the same card but you have to hit a different button on the machine to get to it. Every so often there is a tax relief refund of some sort that puts $1 in cash on everyone's card.

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What bothers me about this food card, is that you can actually use it for liquor and gambling!!!!! OMG!!!

 

To be strictly accurate, it isn't a food card, but an EBT card (electronic benefits transfer). If they are able to get cash off of the card, it is because they have cash benefits in addition to food benefits. Just as one could get a welfare check, cash it, and then use the cash to gamble.

 

I would have no problem with restricting the withdrawal of money at casino ATMs, though. They could withdraw from another ATM and then use at the casino, of course, but really, should it be made THAT easy, lol?

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I don't drink nor gamble nor condone those acts, but on the freedom that the US is built then it does not make sense to pre-choose what people can get. Otherwise it would become an extension of the WIC-program which is silly, almost ridiculous.

 

...

 

Why would it be ridiculous for food stamps to be an extension of WIC? The purpose of WIC is to ensure adequate nutrition for women and children. The purpose of food stamps is to ensure nutrition to people in need.

 

I'm not one for restricting food items ridiculously for people on food stamps, but seriously - paying for gambling and alcohol? How is that helpful for people in need?

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Why would it be ridiculous for food stamps to be an extension of WIC? The purpose of WIC is to ensure adequate nutrition for women and children. The purpose of food stamps is to ensure nutrition to people in need.

 

I'm not one for restricting food items ridiculously for people on food stamps, but seriously - paying for gambling and alcohol? How is that helpful for people in need?

 

I'm not in favor of food assistance being used for beer, but much of WIC is pretty worthless- when I was on it, you could get all the processed cheese and peanut butter you ever wanted, but not a single apple. I think they've changed it now, so you an basically get the equivilent of something like a couple apples and a bag of lettuce each month.

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I'm not in favor of food assistance being used for beer, but much of WIC is pretty worthless- when I was on it, you could get all the processed cheese and peanut butter you ever wanted, but not a single apple. I think they've changed it now, so you an basically get the equivilent of something like a couple apples and a bag of lettuce each month.

 

I don't think WIC is fabulous, but food stamps aren't restricted in the same way. My sister is using both and is able to feed her and her children decent food if she makes the effort. If she went to the store and bought beer with her food stamps I might have to go beat her though.

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I don't think WIC is fabulous, but food stamps aren't restricted in the same way. My sister is using both and is able to feed her and her children decent food if she makes the effort. If she went to the store and bought beer with her food stamps I might have to go beat her though.

 

But your post asked why food stamps couldn't be run like WIC, didn't it? I'm with Mergath - the only time WIC was of great benefit to me was when I was receiving formula for babies who couldn't nurse and the Pediasure for my 9yo when he couldn't eat solid food.

 

You can't buy beer with food stamps! You can buy beer with cash assistance or child support, BOTH of which get loaded onto the same card in many states. They are totally separate from the food stamps (which only allow food or plants/seeds to grow food.)

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Why would it be ridiculous for food stamps to be an extension of WIC? The purpose of WIC is to ensure adequate nutrition for women and children. The purpose of food stamps is to ensure nutrition to people in need.

 

I'm not one for restricting food items ridiculously for people on food stamps, but seriously - paying for gambling and alcohol? How is that helpful for people in need?

 

Naah, what I was thinking about was when I was trying to buy potatoes and parsley with my WIC veggie-checks and was denied. Or the juices that are so sugar-filled it is sad. Those are OK-items to buy??! No, I am not comparing this to the alcohol and gambling; just assuming that people will sink if they want to

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Naah, what I was thinking about was when I was trying to buy potatoes and parsley with my WIC veggie-checks and was denied. Or the juices that are so sugar-filled it is sad. Those are OK-items to buy??! No, I am not comparing this to the alcohol and gambling; just assuming that people will sink if they want to

 

The juice and fake peanut butter was what got me - you weren't allowed to buy an equivalent amount of real fruit or peanut butter without added sugar and hydrogenated oils. Or the fact that there was no substitute for eggs. When we got WIC years ago, we had chickens. We didn't need eggs! Yet I was not allowed to substitute some other protein product for them.

 

I am actually FINE with restricting certain food items like candy, soda, etc. I just don't like the idea of them getting too restrictive as I would probably buy more fruits and vegetables than they would allow and a lot less grain products.

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.....but I'm going to guess that by the time people with pride actually do traipse down to the office, that it might be the very end for them. They might not have food for the next week or even days.

 

To be fair, I'm sure everyone who is seeking/using government assistance has some degree of pride, not just those who we view as "one of us."

 

astrid

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Naah, what I was thinking about was when I was trying to buy potatoes and parsley with my WIC veggie-checks and was denied. Or the juices that are so sugar-filled it is sad. Those are OK-items to buy??! No, I am not comparing this to the alcohol and gambling; just assuming that people will sink if they want to

 

The idea that we as a country *owe* people the right to use public assistance for gambling and booze because we're a free nation is silly though. I owe it to other people to make sure they have food on their table, clothing, electricity. The freedom of America doesn't mean I have to pay for their vices.

 

I do get what you're saying about WIC. It has a narrowly defined purpose and doesn't meet that very well. However, if you cut juices and peanut butter and added fruit and veggies I can see people screaming because their right to choose peanut butter and juice is restricted.

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In states that allow the ebt card to be used as an ATM for cash (California), gambling has been a huge problem. I think there is that temptation to try to "double" the money.

 

Faith

 

 

Wow. People are really trying to provide for their families the best way they know how.

 

And about the deacons' wives doing the shopping . . . how do the families feel about this? Doesn't it feel a little condescending? And how would the wives know what to buy, in terms of the families' tastes?

 

It is very nice of your church to help, though.

 

And big :grouphug: to everyone needing help. Our nation is really in a pickle.

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Gosh, I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you to make it with $250 for a family of four. :grouphug: We just got cut down to $260 for the three of us, and I have no idea how I'm going to do it. We don't have any extra money for food either- with our budget, once we pay for absolute necesseties such as rent and car insurance, we have literally $2 left. And we aren't even attempting to pay on things like our student loans.

 

Luckily it was only that for the first month, then I had the squishy. I had no clue how we were going to manage if they kept it that low. :confused: Students loans can be deferred if you send in proof of foodstamps (with the right form). We have no way to pay mine, either. :grouphug:

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In states that allow the ebt card to be used as an ATM for cash (California), gambling has been a huge problem. I think there is that temptation to try to "double" the money.

 

Faith

 

There is a difference here in CA between food stamps and monetary assistance. With the Food Stamps EBT one can ONLY purchase food items...but if you also qualify for monetary assistance (not sure what they call it) then that goes on the same card and can be used for anything. So, if for example my brother recieved $200 FStamps and $200 assistance, he could use them both for food, but only with the assistance $ could he purchase booze.

 

My brother only qualifies for FStamps. He's been out of work for over 2 years. The economy has been very hard on him, and believe me, he's been applying everywhere! He'd be tickled to even get minimum wage. I can't tell you how very thankful I am that my dh still has employment!

 

(eta OK, ignore me....someone else has already discussed this. I guess I should read posts BEFORE I reply! Ha!)

Edited by Melissa in CA
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Jld,

 

If a family calls for grocery assistance, they can get groceries one time from the church without any financial counseling. We do have a social worker and a financial counselor, plus a Michigan Works representative, who attend our church and so the three of them combine to help families if additional requests from the same address come in. We don't do monetary assistance because too often it ends up being used on cigarettes and liquer which the church does not wish to subsidize. We tried leeting the family's shop for their own groceries on the church account at a local supermarket...they had to check out at the customer service desk and there was a list of unauthorized items they couldn't buy. After several families buying $100.00 worth of frozen pizzas, pop, and chips, we ended the "you can shop for yourself."

 

So, we do it an awful lot like holiday gift baskets. Families requesting assistance fill out a form listing dietary restrictions and food allergies so we can avoid those. Then, for a family without any major dietary issues, they would receive a large turky or ham (we figure that this means lots of leftovers and sandwich makings), two loaves of fresh bakery bread, a head of lettuce plus a bunch of romaine, two bags of baby carrots, unsweetened or reduced sugar peanut butter without hydrogenated oils, 20 pounds of potatoes, 5 lbs of apples, 5 lbs of citrus when in season, or 2 lbs of grapes and 2 lbs of bananas plus 1 lb of something else such as berries in season, one gallon of milk, a large tub of sour cream, two pounds of butter, two pounds of shredded cheddar cheese, two large onions, two slicing tomatoes, a head of celery or other green vegetable, some canned fruits and vegetables, 5 lbs of rice, a box of pasta, one jar of pasta sauce, one half-gallon of orange juice (we always do pulp free so that it works for everyone), some trail mix, a box of raisins, a box of quick cook oatmeal (we'd like to do the more nutritious fresh oats but found that many families just don't know how to use it and with the quick oats, they can make no bake cookies for the holidays), two dozen eggs, and several cans of tuna.

 

Since our monetary funds are limited, we just can't afford to accomodate everyone's likes and dislikes and with one family doctor, a dentist who also has a degree in pediatric nutrition, several nurses including a pediatric nurse specialist, and several paramedics all attending the church, there is a lot of pressure to not use church funds for pre-packaged food items even if that is what the family is used to. So, when a family calls in, the church secretary refers them to the pastor, who will let them know that they will receive x dollars in groceries from a pre-approved list (although the deacons' wives can feel free to substitute similar nutritious items in order to take advantage of sales and make that dollar go farther), and if the family doesn't like that, then he says he is really sorry we couldn't be of more help and refers them to a food pantry about twenty minutes drive from here. It's the best system that we have come up with.

 

Oh, we also keep a pantry stocked with toilet paper, kleenex, sanitary napkins, tampons, shampoo, shaving supplies, and deodorant. Each family will also receive personal care items and we try to be generous if there are several women/teen girls in the household.

 

It's not a perfect system. We don't do it to embarass anyone or make them feel worse about asking for help. It's just the best we've been able to come up with given our limited finances and pressure from the medical people to not fund poor diets.

 

Faith

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Luckily it was only that for the first month, then I had the squishy. I had no clue how we were going to manage if they kept it that low. :confused: Students loans can be deferred if you send in proof of foodstamps (with the right form). We have no way to pay mine, either. :grouphug:

 

For federal student loans there is also the new Income Based Repayment Plan. Your payment fluctuates from year to year based off the income on your tax return. This is separate from the forebearances and deferments. You can have a minimum payment of $0 under this program.

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Jld,

 

If a family calls for grocery assistance, they can get groceries one time from the church without any financial counseling. We do have a social worker and a financial counselor, plus a Michigan Works representative, who attend our church and so the three of them combine to help families if additional requests from the same address come in. We don't do monetary assistance because too often it ends up being used on cigarettes and liquer which the church does not wish to subsidize. We tried leeting the family's shop for their own groceries on the church account at a local supermarket...they had to check out at the customer service desk and there was a list of unauthorized items they couldn't buy. After several families buying $100.00 worth of frozen pizzas, pop, and chips, we ended the "you can shop for yourself."

 

So, we do it an awful lot like holiday gift baskets. Families requesting assistance fill out a form listing dietary restrictions and food allergies so we can avoid those. Then, for a family without any major dietary issues, they would receive a large turky or ham (we figure that this means lots of leftovers and sandwich makings), two loaves of fresh bakery bread, a head of lettuce plus a bunch of romaine, two bags of baby carrots, unsweetened or reduced sugar peanut butter without hydrogenated oils, 20 pounds of potatoes, 5 lbs of apples, 5 lbs of citrus when in season, or 2 lbs of grapes and 2 lbs of bananas plus 1 lb of something else such as berries in season, one gallon of milk, a large tub of sour cream, two pounds of butter, two pounds of shredded cheddar cheese, two large onions, two slicing tomatoes, a head of celery or other green vegetable, some canned fruits and vegetables, 5 lbs of rice, a box of pasta, one jar of pasta sauce, one half-gallon of orange juice (we always do pulp free so that it works for everyone), some trail mix, a box of raisins, a box of quick cook oatmeal (we'd like to do the more nutritious fresh oats but found that many families just don't know how to use it and with the quick oats, they can make no bake cookies for the holidays), two dozen eggs, and several cans of tuna.

 

Since our monetary funds are limited, we just can't afford to accomodate everyone's likes and dislikes and with one family doctor, a dentist who also has a degree in pediatric nutrition, several nurses including a pediatric nurse specialist, and several paramedics all attending the church, there is a lot of pressure to not use church funds for pre-packaged food items even if that is what the family is used to. So, when a family calls in, the church secretary refers them to the pastor, who will let them know that they will receive x dollars in groceries from a pre-approved list (although the deacons' wives can feel free to substitute similar nutritious items in order to take advantage of sales and make that dollar go farther), and if the family doesn't like that, then he says he is really sorry we couldn't be of more help and refers them to a food pantry about twenty minutes drive from here. It's the best system that we have come up with.

 

Oh, we also keep a pantry stocked with toilet paper, kleenex, sanitary napkins, tampons, shampoo, shaving supplies, and deodorant. Each family will also receive personal care items and we try to be generous if there are several women/teen girls in the household.

 

It's not a perfect system. We don't do it to embarass anyone or make them feel worse about asking for help. It's just the best we've been able to come up with given our limited finances and pressure from the medical people to not fund poor diets.

 

Faith

I am SO impressed with your church Faith! I think this is a marvelous program. It weeds out those who really don't need the food assistance. My dh is a downtown Detroit priest. He gets this a lot - someone says they need money for food. Dh offers to drive them to the grocery store and he'll foot the bill. They decline - they just want the money.

 

Wasn't it also your church that had the great program for before school? You had doctors/dentists/school supplies, etc for people?

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From what the worker told me, everyone gets a card and a pin number regardless if you qualify or not. If you apply, then send you a card. Her theory is that if you are approved, then can just go ahead and deposit the money into your card.

It just doesn't make sense to waste tax dollars on mailings and a card if they are not even going to approve you.

 

Here at least, the cards used are pretty cheap (they often wear out, and people don't reorder them because there might be a time gap and they wouldn't be able to get to their benefits, so we wind up hand keying their card numbers...), so I doubt it's that much of a waste.

 

I have a feeling, though, that if we're approved, I'll have to order a card because they already assume I have one. When we got off of it last Spring, I didn't keep it...I was being optimistic.

 

I'm not in favor of food assistance being used for beer, but much of WIC is pretty worthless- when I was on it, you could get all the processed cheese and peanut butter you ever wanted, but not a single apple. I think they've changed it now, so you an basically get the equivilent of something like a couple apples and a bag of lettuce each month.

 

As a pregnant mom I get $10/mo in fresh fruit and veggies. If all you get is a couple of apples and a bag of lettuce for a $5 check, imo, you need to learn to shop produce sales. I make ad-matches at Wal-Mart my friend on those checks!

 

Naah, what I was thinking about was when I was trying to buy potatoes and parsley with my WIC veggie-checks and was denied. Or the juices that are so sugar-filled it is sad. Those are OK-items to buy??! No, I am not comparing this to the alcohol and gambling; just assuming that people will sink if they want to

 

All the juices have to be 100% juice with no added sugar. Yes, juice is rather sugary, but it also has vitamins in it, and the new food packages have less juice than they used to. You can't buy potatos, I assume, because they're a pretty starchy food, and parsley is considered a garnish/seasoning so you can't buy it, either. But most fruits and veggies are acceptable.

 

The juice and fake peanut butter was what got me - you weren't allowed to buy an equivalent amount of real fruit or peanut butter without added sugar and hydrogenated oils. Or the fact that there was no substitute for eggs. When we got WIC years ago, we had chickens. We didn't need eggs! Yet I was not allowed to substitute some other protein product for them.

 

They've gotten more flexible now about protein options. Depending on diet restrictions, soymilk and tofu are alternatives offered for milk (not sure about for eggs, but there aren't as many eggs on it as there used to be, I think). And even years ago, at least in TX and AZ, you could buy natural peanut butter--it just can't be organic. Laura Scudder's! And all the juices approved on WIC have no added sugar.

 

I keep hoping our approval letter for food stamps will be in the mail today. I get paid tomorrow but it all needs to go to rent/utilities and fixing the van... I actually feel guilty about buying food right now, which is CRAZY.

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I keep hoping our approval letter for food stamps will be in the mail today. I get paid tomorrow but it all needs to go to rent/utilities and fixing the van... I actually feel guilty about buying food right now, which is CRAZY.

 

If you have online access, that will immediately tell you if your benefits are available. The letter comes a day or two after your benefits are there....

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Hi Jennifer in MI,

 

Yes, that was our church. We had dental check-ups and the dentist offered reduced or no fee work in his office on certain days of the week after that for those that came and had a demonstrated need. They had to have referrals either from social workers or from three or more family members/acquaintances not living in the household that would attest to the fact that there was a need or they could bring proof such as a bridge card or unemployment statement. We just asked for something to prove need so that the good doctor wasn't taken advantage of...he and his hygienist provided the time and we gave him some money to help offset his materials/medical supplies.

 

We had back-to school hair cuts and a professional photographer offered to take senior pictures...two poses outdoors and he gave the student the cd without his logo on the proof shots so they could have copies made at Walmart or Walgreens. He also took the yearbook shot indoors in a pretty area of the church that a couple of ladies keep nicely decorated for counseling sessions. That way they'd have the appropriate photo for the yearbook.

 

We gave away groceries and school supplies, offered a free lunch to all, free oil changes to the first 15 families that demonstrated a need, the teens washed cars, there was a huge clothing pantry with infant through size 24 ladies or xxl men's, and our social worker plus Michigan Works Representative. At that time, many of our attendees had gardens producing well, so there were fresh veggies and some fruits to go with the groceries. We made one contact with a family in dire straits and still offer her support. Her husband has lost the "family shirt" so to speak, day trading and is completely addicted. Though he possesses a skill that could land him a job, he refuses to work and is just in front of his computer constantly trading with credit cards run up near their maxes or with any money he can get his hands on (you would not believe how many of the family possessions he has sold for whatever he can get). Though he claims it's legit and I guess day trading is, it appears to be like a gambling addiction for him. They don't qualify for assistance because of their assets on paper (though that is all soon going to be owned by the bank) and when she came to us, she had used the last three pieces of bread and little bit of peanut butter in the house to feed the children at breakfast. She told them that if grandma felt well enough to drive them to a nearby church, they would be able to eat lunch but she wouldn't have anything to feed them for supper so to eat as much as they could at the church. She didn't know we were giving away groceries.

 

We ended up giving her double what other families had received plus all of the school supplies, plus winter clothing, plus extra produce, and she is still receiving help. I don't know how long we will be able to continue doing it but as much as can be done, will be done. I'd like to go brain her husband with a rolling pin! Pastor and the deacons have offered both spiritual counseling as well as paying for a psychologist nearby who has experience with addictive behaviors....he won't have anything to do with it. She was raised Mennonite, though is no longer a part of that church, and says her parents will disown her if she leaves him but they won't help because they don't approve of his behavior. You can bet if she was my daughter, I'd have packed her up and we'd have left him with nothing but ice in the ice maker in the hopes that with nothing, he'd be forced to get help. But, I guess her old church is just really strict and so she can't receive help or move back home. It's so sad....I don't like to think of those children with empty bellies.

 

Anyway, not to hijack the thread...I am just a "fixer" by nature so I tend to be a part of these kinds of ministries because they meet my need to "do" something. Sorry if this got the whole discussion way off base.

 

To the original poster, I hope you get help soon! If you lived near our church, I'd see to it that your family received some assistance. I hope that there is a church near you doing the same and that you find them.

 

Faith

Edited by FaithManor
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In our state they have the EBT card. Food and cash assistance go on the same card. If you only receive food benefits you can only buy food. You can't buy toiletries, paper products, cleaners, pet food, alcohol, or OTC medicines. Actually I think their numbers, at least for this state, are fairly generous when you consider you can only buy food.

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WIC and Food Stamps are both USDA programs, but WIC is not an entitlement program like the Food Stamp program is. WIC was established to meet specific nutritional needs and is run by a Federal grant, whereas FS is funded by money set aside by Congress. The application criteria are different for each program. FS is to assist families in obtaining food, period; WIC is for families who have specific nutritional needs. Income guidelines are different; you can have a higher income to qualify for WIC, but it's more restrictive regarding foods and how long you can be on the program. FS has much fewer restrictions regarding food selection, but you must have a lower income to qualify for it. I'm not sure how long a person can be on FS. It's been almost 20 years since I was on assistance.

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The other issue where I live, is that you only need to be here 24 hours and have some sort of address, and this state will set you up with housing, healthcare, EBT, WIC, cell phones etc etc......And the working people who are American ciitizens down on their luck, who have worked, are told they "make to much" to qualify. That really, really irks me.

 

I would have never applied for EBT unless I really needed it. I have never asked for a government handout before. And I hate doing it now. Unfortunately, I do not live in an area where we have a close community, churches or foodbanks.

 

And the card they sent me, is pretty fancy. $$$$$ wasted.

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To be fair, I'm sure everyone who is seeking/using government assistance has some degree of pride, not just those who we view as "one of us."

 

astrid

 

I'd like to think so too but there are some people in the world who feel a sense of entitlement to governmental assistance. I don't believe they are in the majority but they are obviously there because someone here will know someone or have an internet link to a story, etc. etc.

 

Someone somewhere is abusing the system right this second. It's a universal human truth unfortunately.

 

Jen

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And the card they sent me, is pretty fancy. $$$$$ wasted.

 

Sometimes there's a reason for the way things are done (though of course not always a good one). For example, in Philly they found that it was cheaper to assume all of the kids in ps qualified for the free lunch program (even the ultra-rich ones) than it was to ask everyone to fill out forms, show proof of income, keep track of all those forms, keep track of all of the lunch fees, and so on and so on. They just offered lunch to anyone who wanted it. Counter-intuitive, perhaps, but apparently it made a certain amount of sense when you looked at the numbers.

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What bothers me about this food card, is that you can actually use it for liquor and gambling!!!!! OMG!!!

 

 

 

I haven't read past page 1 yet because this statement got me. That said...

 

WHAT?!?! What state are you in, anyway? :001_huh: We're in MO and we recently applied for food assistance because dh had been unemployed for 3 months and we just couldn't go any longer w/o help. (He started working this week, thank the Lord, but his salary is so low that we still qualify for assistance.) Anyway, after we sent in the application, he got a call for an appt to come into the office and show documentation, etc. before we got approved. Got the card in the mail about 5 days after the appointment with the caseworker, but we hadn't got our PIN yet so he called the # and set our PIN by phone.

 

Try pulling up www.ebtedge.com and typing in your card # and PIN to see if it shows any $$ on there. It works like a gift card, and you should be able to follow your balance online just like you would your own bank account. This really helps with budgeting!

 

But the rules *clearly* say no alcohol or gambling! :glare: (The gambling -- assuming that's true -- would be if you got any CASH assistance, of which amount would also be on your card balance. When you use the card, you have to designate one or the other, food or cash, as each category has its own balance. We don't get any cash assistance; just food.)

 

Okay, back to page 1 to continue reading..... :lol:

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I would have never applied for EBT unless I really needed it. I have never asked for a government handout before. And I hate doing it now. Unfortunately, I do not live in an area where we have a close community, churches or foodbanks.

 

You can contact your local St. Vincent de Paul Society. There are Catholic dioceses everywhere in the US and they serve non-Catholics in need, too.

 

The magnetic cards cost about 25 cents, so the system may be weird, but it's not really wasteful to send them out to every applicant.

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Try pulling up www.ebtedge.com and typing in your card # and PIN to see if it shows any $$ on there. It works like a gift card, and you should be able to follow your balance online just like you would your own bank account. This really helps with budgeting!

 

 

 

 

Thank you for posting this. I didn't know about it. Right now, I have a card, with no balance:willy_nilly:

 

I have not been approved yet. Playing the waiting game for now.

 

I will check with the Catholic Church, I didn't know about that either.:grouphug:

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WIC is a great program in my opinion, and it gets better all the time. You are only allowed 100% juice, so no sugar juices. I buy adams natural peanut butter with it. They also have fruit, and veggie vouchers now, as well as whole grain vouchers. My favorite thing they offer is their farm direct program. I recieved 60 dollars worth to be used at local farms. They also give baby food now. I think food stamps should be restricted. If you really need the help you do not need junk food. I do not think the government can restrict what you spend your own money on, but other peoples money yes they should.

 

To the OP I hope you find out soon I hate waiting for government agencies.

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