House Passes Bill Cutting $40 Billion From Food Stamps

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http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/09/20...?from=homepage

Thoughts anyone?
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oh goodness

In addition, the legislation would allow states to require food stamp recipients to be tested for drugs and to stop lottery winners from getting benefits. The Senate farm bill also contains a restriction on lottery winners.
I know there was a big debate here on this, but why do they think drug testing will help?
Yea seriously. We are learning in my criminal law class about how laws are not to be based on status crimes, meaning they should not punish based on our character but rather our act. Anyway, can't recall the name, but we read about a case in California where a law was overturned because it wanted to make just being a drug addict illegal. This sounds a lot like that to me. No I don't condone being a drug addict, but that does not mean that I believe they should go hungry. They are people too you know. This whole bill has really got me infuriated
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Yes, and how much will the drug testing cost? will they test every member of your household?
Yes, and how much will the drug testing cost? will they test every member of your household?
Originally Posted by scrills
Exactly. The amount they are trying to save will be used up by the tests
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Cutting food stamps won't create more jobs. Most people want to work. Age discrimination, lack of how to market oneself, lack of marketable skills, AMD lack of jobs are the problems. The number of people cheating the system is small.

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I want to be proud of my country, but I'm not feeling the love, you know?

We have real problems with law enforcement, racism, and making poverty inescapable.
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I don't agree w across the board cuts. But the number of ppl cheating is NOT small. There is a huge fraud & abuse problem. In NYC there a hundred + ppl who each investigate multiple cases of welfare fraud everyday. Totally backlogged, never an end in sight. And in my current city, I see plenty of examples, as a section 8 landlord. omg

(These are the only two cities I'm personally familiar w. But I'm sure they aren't unique in regards to having a glut of welfare abusers.)

All of this fraud drives down the amount available to legitimate, truthful applicants.

The need for serious reform continues.

Not sure how I feel about the drug testing. It's punative & will hurt children. But it is a glaring abuse of the system.

No good idea about how exactly to address that issue.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 09-20-2013 at 11:41 AM.
Totally not true

Investigating cases of fraud are not the same as convictions.

SNAP Is Effective and Efficient — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Despite the recent rapid caseload growth, USDA reports that states achieved a record-low SNAP error rate in fiscal year 2011. Only 3 percent of all SNAP benefits represented overpayments, meaning they either went to ineligible households or went to eligible households but in excessive amounts, and more than 98 percent of SNAP benefits were issued to eligible households.

In addition, the combined error rate — that is, the sum of overpayments and underpayments (see box, “Combined Error Rate Does Not Represent Excessive Federal Spending or Fraud, p. 9) reached an all-time low in 2011 of just 3.8 percent. Prior to enactment of major reforms in the 2002 Farm Bill, states with combined error rates below 6 percent qualified for a bonus payment or enhanced funding in recognition of their exemplary performance; for eight years running the national error rate has exceeded this standard.

In comparison, the Internal Revenue Service estimates a tax noncompliance rate of 16.9 percent in 2006 (the most recently studied year). This represents a $450 billion loss to the federal government in one year. Underreporting of business income alone cost the federal government $122 billion in 2006, and small businesses report less than half of their income.[10]

From National Review Online | Print (and this is a conservative viewpoint)

I can see why conservatives would find the rise in food-stamp enrollment troubling. People who don’t need government benefits could always be tempted to take advantage of loosely structured government programs. Conservatives are rightly worried about this, and thus are eager to tighten eligibility standards and enforcement to ensure that people aren’t gaming the system. However, crop insurance provides even greater temptations to people with far less justification for government aid.

America’s crop-insurance program is obscene. Farmers receive government subsidies averaging 70 percent of their premiums to purchase insurance that protects them against declining crop value. There’s no income limit for this subsidy: The vast majority of this taxpayer money goes to farmers who make in excess of $250,000 a year. The insurance policies are sold by private companies, and the government also pays those firms about 20 percent of the premium cost to cover their expenses. The companies get to keep the profits from the policies, so taxpayer money makes crop insurance a largely risk-free investment for insurance companies. Thus, the government uses taxpayer money to pay rich farmers to buy insurance from wealthy insurance companies, whom the government also pays to sell the policies to the farmers. Talk about a “free” market.

If fraud was soooo rampant and people were seeing it all the time, wouldn't there be more convictions? Wouldn't there be tons of cases of whistleblowing?

But it's always popular to blame the poor for being poor.

EVERY program will have some cheating. But to the tune of $40 billion in cuts? I think not.
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hello.world.
I have some mixed thoughts and feelings on this issue too. Some of this has been done before. People in Work First Programs have been drug tested in the past. There were measure in place to help people get on their feet and start providing for themselves again. I had several friends go through programs like this in the 90's. A great deal of this has not been enforced over the past several years. That is part of the reason why they have case reviewers and fraud workers, and they have been finding large discrepancies.

In a way I don't have issues with drug testing. It's illegal substances, in most states. Millions of people agree to them every day to work. They're not evil in and of themselves. I also am well aware that many children will suffer due to this law. At the same time I also know that many do already suffer because of no accountability from the parents. Many children get absolutely nothing due to their drug addicted parents. This is a fact, and always has been. There really is no right answer there. My mom, who was a lead food stamp case worker, would tell you the same. She is personally against it, but admits that you are hurting children either way.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

Totally not true

Investigating cases of fraud are not the same as convictions.

SNAP Is Effective and Efficient — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Despite the recent rapid caseload growth, USDA reports that states achieved a record-low SNAP error rate in fiscal year 2011. Only 3 percent of all SNAP benefits represented overpayments, meaning they either went to ineligible households or went to eligible households but in excessive amounts, and more than 98 percent of SNAP benefits were issued to eligible households.

In addition, the combined error rate — that is, the sum of overpayments and underpayments (see box, “Combined Error Rate Does Not Represent Excessive Federal Spending or Fraud, p. 9) reached an all-time low in 2011 of just 3.8 percent. Prior to enactment of major reforms in the 2002 Farm Bill, states with combined error rates below 6 percent qualified for a bonus payment or enhanced funding in recognition of their exemplary performance; for eight years running the national error rate has exceeded this standard.

In comparison, the Internal Revenue Service estimates a tax noncompliance rate of 16.9 percent in 2006 (the most recently studied year). This represents a $450 billion loss to the federal government in one year. Underreporting of business income alone cost the federal government $122 billion in 2006, and small businesses report less than half of their income.[10]

From National Review Online | Print (and this is a conservative viewpoint)

I can see why conservatives would find the rise in food-stamp enrollment troubling. People who don’t need government benefits could always be tempted to take advantage of loosely structured government programs. Conservatives are rightly worried about this, and thus are eager to tighten eligibility standards and enforcement to ensure that people aren’t gaming the system. However, crop insurance provides even greater temptations to people with far less justification for government aid.

America’s crop-insurance program is obscene. Farmers receive government subsidies averaging 70 percent of their premiums to purchase insurance that protects them against declining crop value. There’s no income limit for this subsidy: The vast majority of this taxpayer money goes to farmers who make in excess of $250,000 a year. The insurance policies are sold by private companies, and the government also pays those firms about 20 percent of the premium cost to cover their expenses. The companies get to keep the profits from the policies, so taxpayer money makes crop insurance a largely risk-free investment for insurance companies. Thus, the government uses taxpayer money to pay rich farmers to buy insurance from wealthy insurance companies, whom the government also pays to sell the policies to the farmers. Talk about a “free” market.

If fraud was soooo rampant and people were seeing it all the time, wouldn't there be more convictions? Wouldn't there be tons of cases of whistleblowing?

But it's always popular to blame the poor for being poor.

EVERY program will have some cheating. But to the tune of $40 billion in cuts? I think not.
Originally Posted by webjockey

I wasn't saying there is a glut of SNAP fraud, but general welfare fraud.

Recipients don't get convicted for it. Their benefits are just terminated. If they are caught. And that is a big if. But I see examples of it w/ my own eyes all the time. Most recently this past Tuesday.

It's not blaming the poor bc a lot of these ppl really aren't all that poor.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 09-20-2013 at 01:19 PM.
Totally not true

Investigating cases of fraud are not the same as convictions.

SNAP Is Effective and Efficient — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Despite the recent rapid caseload growth, USDA reports that states achieved a record-low SNAP error rate in fiscal year 2011. Only 3 percent of all SNAP benefits represented overpayments, meaning they either went to ineligible households or went to eligible households but in excessive amounts, and more than 98 percent of SNAP benefits were issued to eligible households.

In addition, the combined error rate — that is, the sum of overpayments and underpayments (see box, “Combined Error Rate Does Not Represent Excessive Federal Spending or Fraud, p. 9) reached an all-time low in 2011 of just 3.8 percent. Prior to enactment of major reforms in the 2002 Farm Bill, states with combined error rates below 6 percent qualified for a bonus payment or enhanced funding in recognition of their exemplary performance; for eight years running the national error rate has exceeded this standard.

In comparison, the Internal Revenue Service estimates a tax noncompliance rate of 16.9 percent in 2006 (the most recently studied year). This represents a $450 billion loss to the federal government in one year. Underreporting of business income alone cost the federal government $122 billion in 2006, and small businesses report less than half of their income.[10]

From National Review Online | Print (and this is a conservative viewpoint)

I can see why conservatives would find the rise in food-stamp enrollment troubling. People who don’t need government benefits could always be tempted to take advantage of loosely structured government programs. Conservatives are rightly worried about this, and thus are eager to tighten eligibility standards and enforcement to ensure that people aren’t gaming the system. However, crop insurance provides even greater temptations to people with far less justification for government aid.

America’s crop-insurance program is obscene. Farmers receive government subsidies averaging 70 percent of their premiums to purchase insurance that protects them against declining crop value. There’s no income limit for this subsidy: The vast majority of this taxpayer money goes to farmers who make in excess of $250,000 a year. The insurance policies are sold by private companies, and the government also pays those firms about 20 percent of the premium cost to cover their expenses. The companies get to keep the profits from the policies, so taxpayer money makes crop insurance a largely risk-free investment for insurance companies. Thus, the government uses taxpayer money to pay rich farmers to buy insurance from wealthy insurance companies, whom the government also pays to sell the policies to the farmers. Talk about a “free” market.

If fraud was soooo rampant and people were seeing it all the time, wouldn't there be more convictions? Wouldn't there be tons of cases of whistleblowing?

But it's always popular to blame the poor for being poor.

EVERY program will have some cheating. But to the tune of $40 billion in cuts? I think not.
Originally Posted by webjockey

I wasn't saying there is a glut of SNAP fraud, but general welfare fraud.

Recipients don't get convicted for it. Their benefits are just terminated. If they are caught. And that is a big if. But I see examples of it w/ my own eyes all the time. Most recently this past Tuesday.

It's not blaming the poor bc a lot of these ppl really aren't all that poor.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Saying that there's general welfare fraud is like saying the sky is blue. The problem is that our legislators are claiming that there is enough fraud and problems to JUSTIFY booting 4-6 million people off of the program.

I would think that if there was that much fraud, there would be convictions or at least investigations to support that. Your anecdotal evidence is just that.

And you are wrong that benefits are just terminated if they get caught:

From USDA: What is SNAP Fraud

The federal government takes action against those who misuse the program.

In FY 2012, over 100 analysts and investigators reviewed over 15,000 stores and conducted nearly 4,500 undercover investigations. Close to 1,400 stores were permanently disqualified for trafficking and nearly 700 stores were sanctioned for other violations such as the sale of ineligible items.

FNS also works with State law enforcement authorities to provide them with SNAP benefits that are used in sting operations, supporting anti-trafficking actions at the local level.

USDA’s Office of the Inspector General also conducts extensive criminal investigations – many resulting from FNS administrative oversight findings and referrals – to prosecute traffickers.

In FY 2012, OIG SNAP investigations resulted in 342 convictions, including a number of multi-year prison terms for the most serious offenses, and approximately $57.7 million in monetary results.

In FY 2012, OIG devoted more than 50 percent of its investigative resources to prevent SNAP fraud, waste and abuse.


As for people not being really poor. I disagree. Folks act like people are getting rich off of food stamps.
The qualifications are around 130% of poverty. Eligibility

I highly doubt that the cost of living in most areas of america are around 130% of poverty. It's kinda like the whole minimum wage thing. Minimum wage is supposed to reflect what a minimum salary needs to be for people to survive - it hardly does and it hasn't kept pace with inflation/cost of living.


The cuts and so-called reforms are out of proportion and intentionally hurt millions of Americans, many of which are children, older adults, veterans and the disabled. It's wrong and it's cruel. There are much much better and effective ways to achieve the same end.
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hello.world.
The 2010 figures, if correct, are what always confuses me. It is very frustrating to see that $69 million was blown in the state of CA, with the majority being at casinos. Ohmygoodness!! Not good. I have seen more instances of people in CA being charged within the last year. I know they hired more fraud workers after those reports.

I can't say that I think the amount of cuts is 100% right, because I don't know what goes on in every state. I also don't assume that all people are committing fraud or on drugs. I've known many who were not, and a pretty good amount of those who have.

I used to buy baby formula for a few people that my ex worked with. They all worked construction, got paid under the table, were on any and every program you could get, had a crank addiction, and sold food stamps or products to buy more drugs. The children were going hungry. Awful, and pretty common thing on construction sites in my town.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Saying that there's general welfare fraud is like saying the sky is blue. The problem is that our legislators are claiming that there is enough fraud and problems to JUSTIFY booting 4-6 million people off of the program.
Originally Posted by webjockey
OK, that's what they're saying. That's not what i'm saying.

I would think that if there was that much fraud, there would be convictions or at least investigations to support that.
Originally Posted by webjockey
You would think. But that's not what i've personally seen.

Your anecdotal evidence is just that.
Originally Posted by webjockey
Yes. But bc I personally witness it and am regularly asked to participate in it, I can confidently say it does exist.

And you are wrong that benefits are just terminated if they get caught:

From USDA: What is SNAP Fraud

The federal government takes action against those who misuse the program.
Originally Posted by webjockey
In my personal experience, they are not prosecuted. I have several tenants right now who were caught committing fraud, lost their housing vouchers and are still living in my properties, paying out of pocket, with no criminal charges filed. And I have had others.

In FY 2012, over 100 analysts and investigators reviewed over 15,000 stores and conducted nearly 4,500 undercover investigations. Close to 1,400 stores were permanently disqualified for trafficking and nearly 700 stores were sanctioned for other violations such as the sale of ineligible items.

FNS also works with State law enforcement authorities to provide them with SNAP benefits that are used in sting operations, supporting anti-trafficking actions at the local level.

USDA’s Office of the Inspector General also conducts extensive criminal investigations – many resulting from FNS administrative oversight findings and referrals – to prosecute traffickers.

In FY 2012, OIG SNAP investigations resulted in 342 convictions, including a number of multi-year prison terms for the most serious offenses, and approximately $57.7 million in monetary results.

In FY 2012, OIG devoted more than 50 percent of its investigative resources to prevent SNAP fraud, waste and abuse.
Originally Posted by webjockey
Seems like ppl are committing SNAP fraud.

As for people not being really poor. I disagree. Folks act like people are getting rich off of food stamps.
The qualifications are around 130% of poverty. Eligibility

I highly doubt that the cost of living in most areas of america are around 130% of poverty. It's kinda like the whole minimum wage thing. Minimum wage is supposed to reflect what a minimum salary needs to be for people to survive - it hardly does and it hasn't kept pace with inflation/cost of living.
Originally Posted by webjockey
You are misunderstanding what i'm saying. I'm not saying anyone is wealthy at 130% of the poverty level. I'm saying some recipients are lying and misrepresenting their household incomes in order to qualify for the benefits. And some are lying and misrepresenting how many dependents live in the home. And some are doing both. And some are doing other things that, if discovered, would render them ineligible for the benefits bc they would no longer qualify based on the guidelines.

The cuts and so-called reforms are out of proportion and intentionally hurt millions of Americans, many of which are children, older adults, veterans and the disabled. It's wrong and it's cruel. There are much much better and effective ways to achieve the same end.
Originally Posted by webjockey
Yes, it's very cruel that children and honest adult recipients will have their benefits cut. Hopefully, when more cheats and freeloaders and chased away, there will be ample resources available for those who truly need them.
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Using anecdotal as a way to paint a broad brush about the general public using this program is misleading.

If people are misreprenting their households to qualify then they must really need food. I'm not surprised because:
a. there is documented evidence that people who don't qualify for the benefits because they make too much money are using food pantries
b. there is documented evidence that families turn to food pantries even though they receive benefits.
c. food insecurity has remained high since the economic downturn.

Instead of figuring out WHY people are finding the need to LIE in order to get food, the knee-jerk reaction is that the they must be kicked off no matter what - hunger be damned.


This is not the way to solve the problem. Hunger advocates have been saying for years that more people need access to the program and that benefits need to be higher in order for hunger to be eradicated.

But people are more concerned about fraud than solving the problem.

For all who are watching this thread, I hope you keep this in mind because the consequences are the legislation that we just saw this week.

Inequality is high, social mobility is low, recovery is hardest for the lowest rung of society. Wages have not kept up with what it takes to make it in america. These are the facts of the current economy.

Taking food away is not the answer.

This interview is worth a watch:
http://video.msnbc.msn.com/now/53062502#53062502
hello.world.

Last edited by webjockey; 09-20-2013 at 02:39 PM.
Spidey, I get what you are saying, but I'm had section 8 tenants. These people (at least in my experience) aren't living it up. The lies they are telling are providing one or two more comforts, not making them rich. Does that make it right, no, but I hate that others that need it are going to suffer.

And those who are just above the qualification line who cheat to get just below the line, well those people are still poor.
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I don't ever feel like anyone is doing anything right anymore. I've always been a democrat (by force, I wanted to register independent), I have only voted democrat, but I have lost faith in everyone. They are too far apart.
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When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

I live in Cali and had lost my job. I went on food stamps/cash benefit. I was single with no kids so I received $221.00 cash and $200 food stamps each month. I remember having to go to the DPSS office to see my case worker. While in the waiting area you see a little of everything: babies screaming, pimps with there prostitutes, people yelling at the other people behind the window of why they didn't get their benefits for the month, there were many who came in that were strung out on drugs (tracks in arms and legs). Not judging but it was obvious to see.

To be honest, this should only be used to help you. I got off of it when I found a job thank God.

Oh and also, you only get cash benefits for 9 months then you have to wait 3 months. At the end of the year you have to reapply all over again. But you do keep your food stamps benefits for a year.

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Spidey, I get what you are saying, but I'm had section 8 tenants. These people (at least in my experience) aren't living it up. The lies they are telling are providing one or two more comforts, not making them rich. Does that make it right, no, but I hate that others that need it are going to suffer.

And those who are just above the qualification line who cheat to get just below the line, well those people are still poor.
Originally Posted by scrills
Some of them are not poor. IDK what qualifies as "living it up" but some do have rather high levels of discretionary income. Just one example (of many): I have a house in a nice neighborhood that rents for $1600. (In Columbus, the average rent is $650...so this is high.) i've never rented it on section 8 before. But everytime it comes available, I have 20 calls from section 8 recipients who have been approved for $400-$900/month rent vouchers or total rents of that amount. And I ask them what about the $1200-700 deficiency??? And they tell me they will pay it under the table.

I'm sorry, if you are listed as an unemployed single mother of four children w/ no income, how the in the hell do you have an extra $1200/month to slip to me under the table?! w/o even batting an eye?

I'm telling you the truth!!! One of my tenants drives an Escalade. Another drives a Lexus. All have nice cars. All get the Dish put in when they move in. How do you have no or low income and you can pay $120/month for cable. They all have huge flat screen tvs in almost every room. Some get brand new furniture. I have seen it being delivered from the store where I bought mine. One has these huge parties/cookouts almost every wknd and invites me. I don't go but once I had to be there while a party was going on and I have never seen tha much food and beer and booze in my life. Another had two sons in prison she was still collecting cash and rent benefits for...until she got caught. Another had two adults living there w/ good full time jobs, claimining zero household income...until she got caught. Hair done. Nails done. All the latest gear. If I have extra washers or dryers, I will ask a new tenant moving in if they want them. Half the time, they are like, "girl, no. I'm going down to Sears tomorrow and getting something new; my last set was about 5 yrs old so I just left it."

I even dated a guy who was fraudulently collecting welfare.

I'm not mad at them! But I'm not pretending that they are struggling eating PB&J sandwiches either.

Ppl like Webbie don't like when I tell it like it is bc it doesn't quite fit into their agenda. I'm certainly not saying everyone on public assistance is running these kinda hustles. Or even most. But YES, A LOT ARE. But I'm neither Democrat nor Republican, so I have no reason to lie. I'm just calling it like I see it.

Yes, I also hate that others who need it are going to suffer.

I'm just saying all this in response to multiculti and webbie's statements that there are very few ppl on PA cheating the system. Wrong! Or, at least in ~my~ experience, there are more than a few.

Tho I have had some great, honest, hardworking tenants who were a pleasure to do business with.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 09-20-2013 at 03:47 PM.

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