A little bit about the Food Stamps cut.

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    • #237522
      David the Gnome
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,033

      So, as some of you know, I was determined, back in November, I think, of last year, to be “disabled”.  In my case, it is primarily for psychological reasons – I don’t do well in regular society due to PTSD, bipolar 2, social and general anxiety disorders – and finally agoraphobia.  I seem to do okay with writing though – and on the net, so my social outlets tend to be here.  Anyhow…

      The amount of payment has been 771 per month – as of the new year it will be 783.  Now, while I was waiting for the SSI to be determined, I had no income at all – and lived with my parents, who were, themselves, having a difficult time, mostly due to being in overwhelming debt.  So getting the eventual 190 a month in food stamps really helped for a time.  When my SSI was initially approved, I received 514 a month – and the food stamps dropped to around 80.  When who ever it was realized that I was actually paying rent, the payments for SSI went up to that 771 amount – and the food stamps dropped to 15.  I re-applied a few months back, got notice that it would change to 24 dollars in food stamps on the first of each month.  I only just received yet another notice – this one informing me that the food stamp amount would be 18 dollars a month.  I believe this is due to the Trump administrations recent cuts to the EBT program.

      Twenty four isn’t a lot, but it would buy a few things, the same is true of 18 – but none of it is enough to cover the expenses of anyone who is forced to rely on EBT.

      Now, to explain a few things

      Maine is one of those states that has work requirements for food stamps.  These do not apply if you are determined to be disabled BUT – and this is a big but, no pun intended… in order to be determined to be disabled, it takes, on average, over 2 years – often much longer.  During that time, you will have to demonstrate through either physical or psychological issues that you are unable to be reasonably expected to work within your area, with what jobs are available.  In my case (as in many others) I applied, was rejected, appealed, was rejected again – and finally, on the second appeal, was able to find a lawyer to represent me – they work for some portion (30%, I think, in my case) of whatever your backpay amounts to.  Usually a few thousand dollars.

      So… firstly then – people who are not working, we can assume, are less likely to have income.  However – unless they are working, or in the process of applying for disability – or at the very least can provide paperwork to prove they are consistently looking for work, they cannot receive food stamps.  Even if they do get them, for a single individual who has any level of income, they will not be much.  By any level of income – I mean that 500 dollars a month is enough for them to decide that you need less than 100 a month in food benefits.

      Now, using myself as an example…

      If I were to rent an apartment, I would likely be paying a minimum (probably considerably more, add in the security deposit and whatnots) of 500 a month.  There is no public transportation in my area, so unless you live reasonably close to work, you will need a car to drive there.  The average car payment is upwards of 300 dollars a month these days – you might get it for 250, if you’re lucky.  So, 750, right?  Add in any reasonable amount of utilities, even the bare bones necessities such as heating oil and electricity – easily another 100-200 a month, possibly more, depending on how efficient your heating is.  Let’s say 100 though.  Total comes to (without anything not necessary added in) 850 a month.

      771, or 783, plus 18 dollars a month in food stamps is either 789, or 801, total monthly income.  And this is in a very best case scenario, where you luck out with a low rent, have the credit or cash to get a car (usually a considerable down payment will be required without credit) and – lets not forget – you have to have already proven, often to a judge, that you cannot be reasonably expected to work due to either severe psychological or physical health related issues.  The kicker is: You can only earn up to about an additional 80 dollars a month before they start cutting a dollar off of your SSI for every 2 dollars you earn.  So, even if your disability permits you to due some kind of work such as, well, maybe at home telemarketing for example – for a few hours a week… you are not looking at much.

      In a nutshell then: You will not have enough money to survive on your own.  The only way you will have the basic necessities of food, water – and shelter, is if you have help from family or friends, or can get in to low or even no income housing.  There are still some of these projects around – but the waiting list has grown absurdly long – and many of these are privately run with rules and regulations of their own.  In general, you pay about a third of your total income for rent in these places.

      In case anyone is still wondering at my point, it is this: People without further aid will be homeless, hungry – and likely to end up sick or dead, assuming they do not become drug dealers or some such thing out of necessity.  The powers that be do this quite deliberately, as, in their minds, the non-working, regardless of their reason, are a drain on society’s resources – parasites, if you will.  We are expected to be lazy, non-contributing members of society, people who don’t do much, or anything at all.  This is how they soothe their conscience (those few that actually have such a thing) – and how they convince many Americans that this is deserved.

      So… I have to wonder… billions in subsidies for the likes of Amazon, Koch industries and so on and so forth – additional billions for the military.  Trillions in tax cuts for the wealthy.  All of this must somehow be paid for – and since they are pretending they give a fuck about economic responsibility, they are taking the money from other things.  In this case, from our social programs.

      If things continue at this rate… it will not be long before millions more Americans are starving.  It will not be long before people freeze to death, it will not be long before many, many more people will not have the basic necessities even to live.

      Yet, both parties have a majority that may as well be screaming what the tea party did, not so long ago: “Let them die!”

      Well, we’re dying.  We’ll probably keep doing so, in increasingly greater numbers as the cuts come in.  So unless we manage to change the system, to effectively boost the level of aid the poorest receive….

      Then I expect at some point I will have to go back to living with my parents, giving up on the idea of living with my fiancé, getting married, having a home.  I would still live, but that would be little comfort for the many who would not.  Even then – my parents will not live forever, sooner or later, I would be on my own – and then I’d be just as vulnerable as anyone else.

      The poor are beyond screwed, in this Country.  It is one thing to enforce austerity when a Nation state has nothing to spend – and so spends nothing.  It is quite another thing when billions and trillions of dollars are given to the already wealthy – and the poor are expected to… well, in the words of a famous rich twat: “Let them eat cake!”

      Just thought I’d share, from my own perspective – because believe me, this shit is bad and getting worse.  Without even mentioning healthcare or student debt.

    • #237532
      ThouArtThat
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,543

      @davidthegnome

      Hi david,

      Thank your for sharing.  The answer to a very simple question reveals how America (TPTB) feels about its citizens.  To wit …

      “Is the purpose of society to nurture and support its citizens or make millionaires and billionaires wealthier?”

      All indications are the latter.  Hence, those suffering can expect their suffering to continue until or unless “The People” have finally had enough.

      One suspects this will never occur in the sickest, greediest and most self-indulgent society to ever exist on the face of planet earth.

      TAT

      “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
      - John F. Kennedy

      "The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it."
      - George Orwell

      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
      - Jiddu Krishnamurti

      "Sometimes a pessimist is only an optimist with extra information."
      - Idries Shah

      "A riot is the language of the unheard."
      - Martin Luther King

    • #237541
      MizzGrizz
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,340

      Eloquently written,David.And accurately expressed.

    • #237546
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 20,590

      Your description of what impoverished Americans have to go through in order to get the meager and inadequate aid to which they are still eligible is accurate and should be common knowledge, but it isn’t. Unless one has been through the process oneself, which I have as far as food stamps are concerned, or knows people who have gone through it, as is the case with my family, who know several people who have gone through the tedious SSI or SSDI approval process, one is usually either ignorant or shamefully misinformed.

      Those who get their news from traditional TV, radio, or newspaper outlets usually believe the poor are lazy bums who are mooching off the system, for that is what they are told by allegedly unbiased millionaires blathering or by politicians of both parties. We’ll always hear about welfare fraud, real or imagined, before we hear about tax subsidies to Big Oil, Big Pharma, or Amazon.

      All we can do is to keep speaking truth to power and fight to change this unjust and inhumane system.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

    • #237558
      salemcourt
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 2,711

      Even now, I hear many people refer to people getting rich from welfare.  The welfare queen idea was an integral part of a larger discourse on welfare reform, especially during the bipartisan effort to reform the welfare system under Bill Clinton.

      https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/09/bill-clinton-welfare-reform-work-racism-reagan

    • #237566
      David the Gnome
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,033

      Here is a piece from the guardian that goes into more specifics of the new cuts and gives several other examples of what people are dealing with

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/dec/12/trump-food-stamps-cuts-vital-lifeline-millions-americans

      It is…. pretty damn sick.

      I emailed my Governor to ask if there was some way the state could assist those most affected, but… well, the Maine state budget is notoriously tight.  So I dont expect much.

      I keep thinking that there must be a better way.  Perhaps large community greenhouses, especially in states with harsh winters like Maines.  A sort of common share program.  We definitely have the land for it.  Hell, we could probably provide some food for most of the Country.

      It just… cant be about profit.  Not anymore.  That’s how we got here.

    • #237584
      David the Gnome
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,033

      Basically, on little more than a nasty whim, the Trump administration cut my food stamp amount by about 25%.  Now, that wont hurt me too much personally because I never got much to begin with.

      The ones I worry for are the families and children.  The single parents working and going to college and struggling desperately to stay afloat.  The people who are waiting on the long disability process.  The most defenseless and vulnerable of us are being deliberately targeted.

      How can a billionaire, President of the worlds wealthiest Nation… possibly hope to justify this?  How do those who aid him in it sleep at night? But for luck, fortune, or grace, any one of them could have been – and might some day be poor.

      What will they do if their own economic circumstances one day leave them in need?  There will be nothing left, because they will have cut it all.

      Just the beginning, I fear.  The new budget will likely add further cuts – and if Trump or a vichy dem should be victorious in 2020…

      There are no other options.  There is no where for the poor to run to where help will be given that is not already overwhelmed.  Churches, food pantries, soup kitchens.

      Countries with more generous social programs will not take in most American poor.

      Just, the knowledge that, right now, this is happening and I am powerless to do anything about it…

      I still dream of that better world, but the current nightmare grows uglier still.

      When all social welfare programs finish collapsing, tens of millions will have nothing.  Millions will die.

      Perhaps I will one day be one of them – and it hasn’t even got anything to do (for the moment) with climate change.  Just insatiable greed and cruelty.

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