Wednesday, August 07, 2019

The LuLac Edition #4,121, August 7th, 2019


Our “Write On Wednesday” logo

This week we’d like to present a very interesting and informative Editorial from Times Shamrock regarding the SNAP program. This entity has been helping people right above or near the poverty line for years and helping farmers too. As a matter of fact, it is an agricultural program designed to help the Family Farm. Here’s what the Editors wrote:


Nobody is getting fat on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, which many people still refer to as “food stamps.”
Yet the Trump administration wants to abandon its states’ rights philosophy to limit SNAP benefits. Under a proposed rule, it would stop the current practice by which states may expand eligibility, requiring them instead to adhere strictly to federal standards.
Nationwide, about 3.1 million of the 36 million people who receive SNAP benefits would lose them. In Pennsylvania, according to the Wolf administration, about 200,000 of the 1.86 million enrolled in SNAP would become ineligible.
This is not a case of the affluent free-riding on a program intended for the poor. People who would lose the benefits have incomes higher than the federal eligibility rule but only marginally so.
Eligibility under the federal rule is up to 130% of the official poverty level. For an individual, that 13% level equates to $16,000 a year and $32,000 for a family of four. Pennsylvania’s eligibility standard is 160% of the federal poverty level, about $18,000 for an individual or $38,000 for a family of four.
The rule change would have a significant impact in Northeast Pennsylvania. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 16,426 of the 265,416 households in the 8th Congressional District receive SNAP benefits. Of those, 45.2% include at least one person older than 60; 36.5% include at least one child younger than 18, and 52% include at least one disabled person. The USDA reported that 42% of those households have incomes below the federal poverty level, with a median household income of $20,929.
About 40% of those households include two or more workers. Districtwide, 72.9% of beneficiaries are white, 11.3% are black, 9.4% are Asian and 8.4% are Latino (the figures total more than 100% because of overlap among categories).
State lawmakers could mitigate the impact by increasing the $7.25 hourly minimum wage to a near-living wage, which would create some upward pressure on wages and boost many SNAP recipients’ incomes beyond the state SNAP eligibility standards.
The majority is more likely, however, to maintain the poverty-level wage and celebrate diminished SNAP eligibility as a victory for government efficiency. Such governance illustrates that the Legislature itself needs a different sort of supplemental assistance.


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