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Old 08-20-2011, 09:41 AM   #1
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Interesting article on the use of foodstamps

and what some states think they should and should not be used for? not starting a debate, but I have been in line behind people with nothing but what most people would deem 'junk food' and paying for it with EBT (foodstamps).
Apparently some states are trying to start and curb the use of them for certain 'obesity causing foods'




NEW YORK (AP) — A plan by New York City to combat obesity by restricting the purchase of sugary drinks with foods stamps would be too large and complex, federal officials said Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture rejected a waiver request that would have allowed the city to implement the plan, which would have barred food stamp recipients from using their benefits to buy sodas, teas, sports drinks and other sugar-sweetened drinks.

The ban would have applied to any sweetened beverage that contains more than 10 calories per 8 ounces.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. David Paterson announced in October that they would seek a waiver from the USDA to start up a temporary program that would be evaluated before becoming permanent.

In a statement released Friday, Bloomberg said his administration was disappointed by the USDA's decision.

"We think our innovative pilot would have done more to protect people from the crippling effects of preventable illnesses like diabetes and obesity than anything being proposed anywhere else in this country — and at little or no cost to taxpayers," he said.

While sharing the goal of reducing obesity, an official with the nation's food stamp program said in a letter Friday addressed to the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance that the USDA had concerns about the plan's "potential viability and effectiveness."

Jessica Shahin, associate administrator of the program, wrote that the proposal lacked clear product eligibility guidelines, didn't take into account the burden that might be placed on city food retailers and failed to put forward a credible design for evaluating the effect on obesity and health.

The food stamp program was launched in the 1960s and serves more than 40 million Americans each month.

The city has been actively working to shape diet choices by New Yorkers, including with a public advertising campaign called "Pouring on the Pounds" that targets the excessive consumption of sugary drinks by linking it to obesity and diabetes.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:46 AM   #2
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Their goal seems murky to me. If they want to fight obesity, then ban those sugary drinks from everyone, not just food stamp recipients. If they want to make sure food stamps are not used on "frivolous" items, then this makes sense, IF it's enforceable.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:50 AM   #3
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The problem with anything like this is that the food lobby will never allow it. If you think about it, food stamps are almost like a subsidy for them. JMHO
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:54 AM   #4
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I don't know, but I was buying coffee at a 7-11 a few weeks ago, and the woman in front of me was using her WIC card (equivalent to food stamps) to buy a bag of Ruffles, a bag of Starbursts and a Colt 45 Malt Liquor. I didn't think they were allowed to buy that kind of stuff with it, but what do I know?

My sister is a manager for the Dept. of Children and Family Services for the city of Chicago and she said her case workers are having problems with their clients buying things like diapers and formula (which are allowed), and then selling them on the streets to get money for drugs and alcohol. It's fairly easy to beat the system I guess.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:04 AM   #5
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Bag of chips costs $2, bag of peaches costs $10....
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:06 AM   #6
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good idea

I think it's a good idea. I think just like WIC tells you what kinds of foods you can buy with their assistance, the food stamps should be more like that. Limit chips, candy, Little Debbies, cokes, cakes, pies, etc. If they want that crap make them pay cash for it. It might be a hard program to implement but WIC does it.

I have been behind ppl at Walmart that has nothing but a basket FULL of junk crappy snacks and food and weighing around 300 pounds with little obese kids in line with them.

I think luxury items like crab legs and lobster should be restricted from food stamps too. Food stamps are meant to help feed needy families, not for purchasing luxury food items that most TAX PAYING citizens can't even afford.

I am also glad to see some states are beginning to make welfare recipients get drug tested. I hope they make all existing welfare recipients get drug tested. There's gonna be a lot less ppl bilking the welfare system if and when they do that.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:29 AM   #7
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I think that food stamps should allow you only to get healthy and nourishing foods like WIC does. People (everyone, food stamps or not, really) should be buying milk, cheese, bread, meats, vegetables & fruits, etc, not potato chips, soda, etc. I don't think the government should be subsidizing junk food for people... if you buy it with your own money, that's fine. And I say this as someone who used to receive food stamps and Medicaid.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeafl View Post
I don't know, but I was buying coffee at a 7-11 a few weeks ago, and the woman in front of me was using her WIC card (equivalent to food stamps) to buy a bag of Ruffles, a bag of Starbursts and a Colt 45 Malt Liquor. I didn't think they were allowed to buy that kind of stuff with it, but what do I know?
She had to have been using something besides WIC. WIC is for certain products, you have so many each month for milk, cereal, peanutbutter etc...they will give cash vouchers for the farmers market but you wont be able to use that at 7-11. They also give you vouchers for formul but not for diapers...Some women lie and say there child is on formula (when they are breastfeeding) so she can get the vouchers and then sell the formula....

I used to date someone that had food stamps and he used his card to buy soda, ice cream and chips...his sister would use her card at the gas station, the owner would pay her 75% of the value...she would then use the money to buy lotto tix, beer and drugs...needless to say once I found out what the family was doing I didnt take the guy any more thank God.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeafl View Post
I don't know, but I was buying coffee at a 7-11 a few weeks ago, and the woman in front of me was using her WIC card (equivalent to food stamps) to buy a bag of Ruffles, a bag of Starbursts and a Colt 45 Malt Liquor. I didn't think they were allowed to buy that kind of stuff with it, but what do I know?

My sister is a manager for the Dept. of Children and Family Services for the city of Chicago and she said her case workers are having problems with their clients buying things like diapers and formula (which are allowed), and then selling them on the streets to get money for drugs and alcohol. It's fairly easy to beat the system I guess.
Our WIC has a distribution center, you don't "buy" anything. They box it up and hand you what you can get. So not sure exactly how the wic cards work but:

if WIC is like foodstamps--the candy and chips would be ok, not the beer. And the cash register will not allow it to be put on the card. It divides it up (so if someone is in the grocery store with paper plates, cups, dog food and toilet paper along with meat, milk and bread when the run that card, the computer automatically recognizes what it is and divides the amounts of what can and can't be put on the card).
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeafl View Post
I don't know, but I was buying coffee at a 7-11 a few weeks ago, and the woman in front of me was using her WIC card (equivalent to food stamps) to buy a bag of Ruffles, a bag of Starbursts and a Colt 45 Malt Liquor. I didn't think they were allowed to buy that kind of stuff with it, but what do I know?

My sister is a manager for the Dept. of Children and Family Services for the city of Chicago and she said her case workers are having problems with their clients buying things like diapers and formula (which are allowed), and then selling them on the streets to get money for drugs and alcohol. It's fairly easy to beat the system I guess.

That is not possible.... The wic items have all been coded and they will not allow them to be used for any item that is not on the allotted list. If there is a way to bypass that, I am not sure how it would be not be brought to the attention of the workers handling the WIC benefits. That person would be banned from the program. The WIC vouchers/cards that you sign for clearly states what is and what is not allowed and that you can and will be prosecuted for Fraudulent use of it as well.


We assist Women and Children in our Clinic with getting them signed up for the program and I can assure you that there is no way that they are able to purchase any of those items you mentioned. They will not even go through here if the correct amount or item is NOT purchased.


As far as Food stamp use, Banning EBT recipients from buying sugary drinks are not going to curb obesity. Obesity is caused by more than just bad food choices.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:34 AM   #11
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Somehow they manage to code cleaning supplies and toiletries so that they won't go through on food stamps so I would imagine that they could code certain other foods not to go through as well. I would love to see that. I don't mind helping someone out when they need it. I regularly donate to and volunteer at a local food pantry. Some of our clients are legitimate - in the winter we get many who have to choose between food and heat. But some we know are scamming the system.

Everyone should be entitled to a basic nutritious diet. Food should not be denied to anyone. But I don't think that my tax dollars need to buy better food for a food stamp recipient than I buy for my own family.

There are a lot of gray areas involved though so I can see why nothing is done. For example, basic cuts of beef like a pot roast should be allowed but prime rib not? That would be tough. The sugary drinks seem like a good place to start though. They have no nutrirional value and no one "needs" them.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeafl View Post
I don't know, but I was buying coffee at a 7-11 a few weeks ago, and the woman in front of me was using her WIC card (equivalent to food stamps) to buy a bag of Ruffles, a bag of Starbursts and a Colt 45 Malt Liquor. I didn't think they were allowed to buy that kind of stuff with it, but what do I know?

.
How in the world could you tell how she was paying for her stuff?
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:42 AM   #13
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IMHO, I could understand LIMITING the amounts of certain foods that can be bought with foodstamps but I am not so sure I think that any food item should be completely banned.

I mean, if a mom wants to buy a cake mix to make her child a birthday cake--is that "junk food". Its certainly not "health food". What about buying a few treats for times the kids are home during the summer or for holidays? Is that really so bad? Or the family cookout on Labor day and they buy a bag of chips to go with their burgers?

I don't like to see carts over flowing with quick fix, unhealthy, frozen dinners, pot pies, chips and drinks either; but I don't think one bag of chips or pretzels in with a load of fruits and veggies is so horrible either.

And like Golfgal stated--junk food is a whole lot cheaper than fruits and veggies. So if you are having to stretch the food budget, junk food can certainly feed a hungry tummy a whole lot cheaper.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeafl View Post
I don't know, but I was buying coffee at a 7-11 a few weeks ago, and the woman in front of me was using her WIC card (equivalent to food stamps) to buy a bag of Ruffles, a bag of Starbursts and a Colt 45 Malt Liquor. I didn't think they were allowed to buy that kind of stuff with it, but what do I know?

My sister is a manager for the Dept. of Children and Family Services for the city of Chicago and she said her case workers are having problems with their clients buying things like diapers and formula (which are allowed), and then selling them on the streets to get money for drugs and alcohol. It's fairly easy to beat the system I guess.
Not legally possible to buy things like Starburst with your WIC benefits - but there are numerous ways to beat the system. We have a small convenience type grocery store here that will ring up cigarettes and alcohol as milk, eggs and bread and other food. My oldest son first told me about it a couple of years ago and then a couple of months later a local newspaper ran an article with the accusations. From what I understand they've been reported and investigated numerous times but never shut down.

As for the initial OP - I am in favor of limiting what can be purchased with food stamps to .... fruits, vegetables, milk, juice, and other staples. No chips or snack food. No soda. No candy, cakes and ice cream or whatever. I realize that angers some people but it is how I feel.

As for how can somebody know? In some areas a recipient gets a plastic credit card that contains the info for all public aid ... medical, food stamps, WIC etc. The one I've seen has a state logo which matches the logo that stores hang in their windows with the sign "WIC accepted here" or whatever working they use for food stamps now, I can't remember.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:00 AM   #15
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Fresh food may cost more than a bag of chips, but it also nourishes you and keeps you full longer. You will be hungry sooner if you eat the chips, therefore they aren't as cheap as they seem.
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