My Food Stamp Experience

by Andy Hough on June 11, 2008

Last month I read a post at Living Almost Large titled “Still Hungry with Food Stamps“. It was in response to this CNN article about a woman who found it difficult to feed her and her baby on $280 a month in food stamps. LivingAlmostLarge thought that it shouldn’t be a problem to eat on that amount a month but some of the commenters disagreed with her. Since I’ve been on food stamps myself I wanted to do my own post on the subject and I’ve finally gotten around to it.

I was on food stamps in Texas for three months in 2003. I was employed at the time but not getting many hours and therefore not making much money. I was making just enough money to pay my bills but certainly wasn’t going hungry. Since I worked at a pizza restaurant I had access to free food several times a week. I debated whether to apply for food stamps but decided I should go ahead and take advantage of the program.

It was pretty easy to apply for the food stamps. I just filled out an application and dropped it off at the office. I was called about a week later and after a short interview I was declared eligible for $160 a month in food stamps. I don’t remember the exact details of documentation but I remember being surprised at how easy the process was. I was also surprised at the amount, $160 seemed like a lot to me for one person.

The food stamps were actually in the form of an EBT card which worked like a debit card. The first month I used my entire allotted amount. Some of this was due to buying food for a friend that visited and building up a supply of basic staples. The second month I didn’t come close to using all of my allotted amount. This amount rolled over to the next month resulting in me having much more than $160 to spend on groceries for the month. The third month I got a new job and canceled my food stamps. However, I was still able to use the amount remaining on my EBT card and used it to buy my groceries for the next couple months.

Overall, I would say my experience with food stamps was a positive one. I found a $160 a month to be plenty of money for groceries and I actually bought more expensive foods than I normally would have. I did occasionally get dirty looks when using the card but for the most part no one seemed to care that I was using them.

If I were in the same position again though I wouldn’t apply for food stamps. I was eligible for them so it was legal for me to do so but since I could have easily got by without them I don’t think it was ethical to do so. So far this year I’ve been averaging $100-$150 on food including restaurant food so I’d have to be pretty poor to not be able to afford food without food stamps.

{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

51 C November 20, 2011 at 3:15 am

It’s terrible that you are going through that and how yes you have worked 45 years of your life away to have only debt and 93 in fs. I am not here to bash fs or government assistance. It’s shameful how people are quick to judge on this blog. I have worked my whole adult life and I’ve seen people struggle and though I haven’t had it rough or fell into hard times like many on here I would never judge on what a family can or can not survive on. I do think yes maybe in some cases there is some abused of the system going on in ways but I think most people are just trying to get by with the little help they get. As a young adult in my early 20s, I feel like I am glad that my taxes out of my paycheck go to help these people in need.

52 Mary G November 22, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I am surprised at the amount you got, too. I am unemployed. My unemployment insurance is $1100 per month. My rent is $850; I live alone, and I rented the place before I lost my job, though not by much and I can’t get out of the lease without penalty. My car payment is $363 and since it’s actually my Ch. 13 bankruptcy payment, it’s not one that I can reduce or eliminate. As you can see, all my “income” is gone before it gets here. I’ve been out of work essentially since January, with very short-term temp jobs in between (basically just long enough to screw up my unemployment).
I’ve just gotten approved for food stamps. A whopping $27 per month. While I don’t have a tremendous appetite, I have no idea how I’m expected to survive on that. I also am lucky enough to have Celiac’s as well as food allergies, so I can’t do a ramen noodle 16 pack or grab a couple loaves of bread, a jar of peanut butter and some jelly and call it a day. Although I am very happy to have the assistance, I wish someone could explain to me how I’m supposed to feed myself on 90 cents a day.

53 Shelly November 24, 2011 at 12:02 am

Oh my goodness. $27 per month. That’s just crazy. I just applied for food stamps for my family. My husband lost his job and my pay is peanuts. (former employer is fighting unemployment). With just my pay for a family of 4 our benefits should be approx $687. Mary I’m sorry they only gave you $27, I don’t know how they kept a straight face when they told you that amount. Good luck to you. I hope things turn around for you and others who posted those silly dollar amounts.

54 Taylor November 26, 2011 at 6:28 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I worked in retail all through college. Let it be known, while in college, I paid all my own bills on a tiny income. It frustrates me that in order to “make something” of myself, I had to go hungry a lot of the time. But I did it because it was MY CHOICE to only work 20 hours a week at low pay. However, when I was at that job (retail pharmacy store CVS) I saw SO much abuse of the system. I saw people come in and use a LoneStar (Texas ebt) card to buy $2.99 coffee drinks, sodas, gummy worms, chips, and candy. I was appalled that people living on tax dollars were able to buy these nutritionally bankrupt foods (some while talking on an iPhone). Tax dollars are not there to subsadize junk food or help budget a fancy phone. So, the anti-SNAP attitudes may come from limited and negative experiences with it. Do I think all people on SNAP are lazy, lazy-good-for-nothing, cheats who abuse the system? Of course not! But I think there are some poorly written policies in the program that allow a few bad apples to ruin my sympathies for SNAP recipients. Not being ugly, just giving a point of refernence for the root of some bad perceptions.

I am also not so quick to feel sorry for families of four, five, or fifty. It disgusts me that people with JOBS not careers have multiple children. I am a 25 year old women. I do not have children. Guess what, I am not on SNAP benefits. I have planned to have A child (one, uno, singular) only when I have $20,000 in the bank. I’m a teacher so it will be another 3 to 4 years for me to do that. I made good choices by getting educated, working my whole life, and controlling irresponsible child bearing. It disgusts me that people don’t take responsibility for their irresponsible choices. But I guess even irresponsible people need food.

And rant over.

55 Kanzaki November 28, 2011 at 2:03 am

@Taylor – I think this is one of the most ignorant responses I’ve read thus far. If you call yourself a teacher and take this attitude towards services designed to help people, then no wonder America’s educational system is not up to par.

First, how can you even say that people with multiple children working jobs disgust you?

The reality of it, is yes, many people have JOBS, not careers. I had a career at AT&T but it felt like a JOB because I hated working for them.

Also, some people are just not cut out for college and choose to work JOBS. Who’s going to take my order at McDonald’s if everyone is a doctor or lawyer? We need these people who work JOBS just as much as we need those who have careers. And anyway, the difference between a job and a career is perspective.

That cashier at Wal-Mart might be happy with her job and considers that her career while the executive at AT&T hates his career and views it a job – a means to make money and not very fulfilling. My sister-in-law has worked as a cashier at Lowe’s for 6 years and loves it. I worked for corporate America and hated every minute of it.

So I find you ignorant to stay that it disgusts you that people with multiple children work jobs. At least their working trying to take care of their children instead of relying solely on government benefits to help them! Or maybe those people with multiple children working JOBS had careers but was laid off!

Also, when you work, you’re not going to get that much help from the government. Some working people JOBS only receive $10 in food stamps and don’t qualify for welfare and medicaid. And the trouble you have to go through to get that isn’t it worth it half the time.

However, just because a person has multiple children working a JOB doesn’t mean they’re getting government assistance. That is a narrow-minded stereotype.

It’s not a crime to have 2, 3, 4, or 50 children. Let people have children because those same children are going to grow up and get jobs and have money cut out of their checks to fund services for YOU when you’re old, disabled, and/or retired.

And don’t you dare for one second think you’ll never end up needing services because of your RESPONSIBLE decisions.

You know where you’ve been but you don’t know where you’re going. You could walk out of your door and end up in car accident that leaves you injured and unable to work. And then when you apply for disability, they’ll deny you and tell you that you can find other work due to your educational background and while you get your lawyer and fight social security, you’ll need those food stamps to help feed you. But when your friend calls on your iPhone that got before you were disabled and the cashier gives you a disgusted look for paying for that ice cream you’ve been dying for with food stamps – remember what you posted on this website.

Cause like I said previously, you know where you’ve been but you don’t know where you’re going. You have no idea what tomorrow holds for you.

Secondly, I think you show your ignorance to judge people based on what you saw without knowing their whole story. Did you ask those people in CVS buying junk food with food stamps how they got their iPhone or why they were buying junk food or how they ended up needing food stamps in the first place or did you just automatically make an assumption?

I know a girl that receives a check once a month, lives in public housing, receives max food stamps, has $500 cell phone, wears not exactly expensive but pricey clothes, and drives a 2010 dodge charger.

And if you saw her, the first thing you’d say is she’s abusing the system; I hate my taxes go to help people like her; something needs to be done about the system to keep people like her from abusing it.

On the outside, it does look like that.

But guess what? This girl has boyfriend who bought her the cell phone by adding her to his plan – and guess what? They received the cell phone free for adding a new line to his account. The car – it belongs to her boyfriend. If they break up, she no longer has transportation. The clothes – he keeps her looking nice. Of course, he has a volatile temper and will hit her when he gets angry. And the one time she called me to come get her, he had locked her in the house beat her until she almost died. And it’s not easy to get out of abusive relationships because of FEAR and LOW SELF-ESTEEM.

Just makes you sick to your stomach to see how great her life is, doesn’t it, spending your hard earn money on a bag chips?

Not only that – but the girl is certifiably crazy. She was raped by her own father at the age of 16 and kicked out of the house when she told her own MOTHER. Her mother believed her husband over her own child. And this girl was eating out trash cans and sleeping on park benches until someone finally took her in.

To make matters worse, the girl got pregnant by her father (currently in prison now) and the baby was taken into DHR custody because the girl suffers from post traumatic stress. And she goes through hell and back dealing with DHR because they want to give her back her child but they don’t know if she can handle taking care of the baby. One minute she wants the child and the next she can’t stand to look at the girl and breaks down into tears. And yeah, she thought abortion, but reputable clinics show you videos about what happens when they give you an abortion and it freaked my friend out and she decided to just have the baby.

So yeah, that check she gets once a month – she deserves it. She can’t hold a steady job, is always jumping into bad relationships, and takes crazy pills. And maybe she could do better but she can’t. Not everyone has that kind of strength or even that great of a support system.

No, she’s not abusing the system. She needs that check to come to her once a month and it’s really not much. And she needs those food stamps to help her buy food. And she needs those social services they offer to help her get our that bad relationship she’s in even though this guy does take care of her.

But if you just looked at her from the outside without truly knowing her situation, you’d think she was just abusing the system and making irresponsible choices.

You need to quit looking at people who have government assistance just because you see them do something YOU don’t approve because in reality, you have no idea how many of these people may go home and cry their eyes out at night – just like the girl I told you about.

So who really cares if they want some damn coffee and gummi bears with their food stamps? Let them have their comfort. It may be the only comfort they do have. To assume you know what these people go through based on what they buy with their food stamps or what they wear or what they own is plain ignorance.

And to assume that just because you can do it, everyone else can is again ignorance. If everyone was just like you, there’d be no need for psychologists, yeah?

And to those who complain about how their paychecks are being heavily cut to fund services like food stamps, think realistically for moment. If these services didn’t exist, do you really think the government would let all that unused tax money go to you?

Of course not. They’d find some other reason to take just as much money from your hard earned paycheck to give you something else to b*tch about.

There are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. We’ve been dying and paying taxes since of the beginning of time. And it’s not likely to change any time soon even with stricter policy regulations for social services or even just cutting out social services altogether.

So just sit back. Work hard. Pay your taxes. And thank God you don’t need or have to rely on social services to make it instead of looking down on people without truly knowing how they got there in the first place.

My rant is now over.

56 Leah December 1, 2011 at 5:57 am

Well for starters, you had access to free food at your job. Foodstamps are just that, for food. If you were already getting fed, thats the reason why you didnt need to use all of your foodstamps. I have a family of five and I will tell you, that we buy cheap and bulk so it will last such as rice, beans, pasta,meat at a meat market that charges low. I even low ball wal mart with other store ads and they honor it. Foodstamps are for people that cant afford to eat because of bills, rent, mortgage, were not all lucky to have access to made food. So, thats was a thumbs up on your part, but not for so many others. As for the homeless, they cannot cook, so ready made food should be accessible with foodstamps in my opinion. It wouldnt matter if I want this because my husband and I also pay taxes, so its basically going back to us when we have something such as foodstamps.

57 Leah December 1, 2011 at 6:18 am

Wow, im so sorry to hear about your friend. I wish I could help her and let her know it will be ok. And Taylor seems to be an idiot on the subject, Im also a teacher, but for homeschooling, we shop at the local thrift stores and get what we need, not really what we want. My children are pretty happy and were actually fixing to have to get on foodstamps again. It really does help out, my hubby works, but it is to low for us to make it. And it was horrible the way it started, a drunk driver hit our car a few days after my husband lost his job, and you would not believe the reason if I told you lol! Non the less, were starting over and he is getting rides to work. It is a helpless feeling really, and for someone like Taylor to say those mean ugly things really lets me know that she is very ignorant and irresponsible herself to think life is easy. My husband and I also had a career in the car business, it was our own business and we made decent money, but when the recession happend, it was over. Im just thankful my tax dollars went to foodstamps so now we can use them. I can say that we paid for whatever we get! Ok, but is that not the truth?

58 Leah December 1, 2011 at 6:31 am

I dont know where you live, but that most def. Doesnt happen here in tx.! There is no option, its just swipe and the and the amount it costs gets deducted and thats it. Now, it used to be that way back in the early 90s, but not niw a days, so that must of been several years ago or a really outdated system. Just thought I would let you know that.

59 Leah December 1, 2011 at 6:40 am

I never had a problem with working, especially for this need. People should be happy in the food they buy, not embarrassed, I mean, if I had foodstamps and I needed fish to eat, I will get it, mostly for nutritional purposes, but because I like it too. And cokes, why cant kids get cokes just because of fs? Their situation is not their fault and be put under scrutiny because they wanted something to enjoy, thats what makes people hate other people. And I did want to say one thing, if people here are struggling, then get on fs and quit complaining! Thats what they are there for and why we pay taxes! I dont hold any anger to those who get what they need, but im discouraged by the ABUSERS of it.

60 jhfjdah December 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

I think the main thing you missed was she had to feed her and her baby. Therefore it’s one person vs. 2 people. There’s a difference. Depending on how much her child eats determines how much food she will need in order to feed her and her child. That could be why she said 280 wasn’t enough.

61 gwen January 5, 2012 at 1:58 am

If I read correctly it says she receives $280 on Food Stamps (PLUS) $65 from a Federal Program (PLUS) a free lunch in Culinary School. = $345+. And can’t manage to feed herself and the kid. That’s a problem of not knowing how to manage money then other thing.

I have for my husband and me a $50 week budget. There is this paper by the door of all grocery stores that is called WEEKLY ADS. You grab one take a min. circle only what’s on SALE, pay and go your mary way. Once home MENU PLAN around what you bought.

Here some tips:
-Shop at the Hispanics/Asian markets SUPER CHEAP chicken quarters for $7.00 a bag of 10lbs (or less), Ground beef $1.99lb, Pork Chops/Ribs $1.89 and more items.
Produce CENTS on the dollar I have got 3lbs. carrots ($1), onions 3lbs ($.69), red potatoes 4lbs ($.50), sweet potatoes ($.19lb), avocados 4/$1, cucumbers 8/$1, limes 10/$1, lettuce .$69ea. The list goes on and on.

-Dollar Stores boxes of pasta, cans of spaguetti sauce, half galon milk, bread, frozen fruits and veggies, cheese, eggs, oatmeal, spices, tins of sardines/tuna and more for, yup ONE DOLLAR.

-Check for clearance items, hunt for bargains, use coupons,price match, compare prices, stock up. DON’T throw things as you go into the cart (big mistake).

-Save scraps and bones to make stock.

– homemade, homemade, HOMEMADE.

– Buy GOOD quality fats, avocados, canned sardines/salmon, coconut milk, real butter, olive oil, coconut oil (this IS pricey).
Our brains are made of fat FEED it, no wonder we as society have become so dumb our brains are starving and can’t think properly. Good fats is what make the body think is FULL, and will avoid eating junk every two hours. That makes us overweight and sick.

-Stop making lame excuses , stop whining!!

*down my soap box* ;)

62 Lena February 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Sorry to hear that. I also applied for foodstamps… We’ll see… Have you thought to go and live in South America? I heard you can live pretty good on your unemployment. Just a thought.

63 Karen February 29, 2012 at 3:25 am

Okay, shut up. My whole life my family has been on and off foodstamps. And we always got 200 or more. It helped us so much. Stop complaining about what you don’t have, and be thankful that the governments giving you anything!
If your not disabled or injured, you can work! And you should. If you have children, you need to get a babysitter. I hate people who think it’s okay to live on the government. Not only does it mess up our economy even more, but it takes away from the people who really do need it, and that’s horrible.
For one, it is not the governments job to feed you. It’s yours. Go get a job.
It’s not hard to buy food that has to be cooked. If you buy food that has to be prepared, you can buy a lot more of it and spread it out. Stop buying 15 dollar hot pockets and complaining that their gone. But if it’s just. You CAN easily afford 90 bucks a month on food. Your problem is you just don’t want to eat sparsely or frugally.
I live in Texas, I always have. And I may have had to eat peanut butter and go to make a wish and the Salvation Army a couple times when I was younger, but I always had food.
The United States offers help in so many ways! food banks are everywhere! And if you can’t afford groceries, you should qualify for at least, some assistance.
It’s hard to live on FS, I understand. My family has for years, but it’s not THAT hard. If you learn to budget and eat less brand name food, you’ll be okay. If not, suck up your pride and ask for help.
I have no sympathy for most of you. My mom was homeless, 16, and had a newborn. She lived off $116 a month. It’s crap that someone else can’t. If you want to eat good, get a job.
It is not the government’s job to support you. It’s there to offer assistance, and it doesn’t have to. Yes, it’s strict but you can get over it. If you could buy McDonalds with foodstamps, the government would have loads of false claims. Also, last time I checked, liqour is not food.
The people that help you fill out the application and get you food stamps, work really hard for you. Day in and day out people come in their offices asking for help. Some need it desperately, some not at all. Of course they get a little frustrated! Get over it, they’re not your mommy. They don’t have to be nice to. It’s their job to help you, so if I were you, I’d be nice to them. And chances are, if you need the help, and your nice, they’ll be a little more polite.
Currently, a 32 year old women, 2 disabled children (6 and 8), a 15 year old girl, and a 68 year old man eat off of 300 a month. And we don’t get Food-stamps. But we don’t complain, we make it work.
Sometimes the systems is unfair, yes, but that’s because a lot of people who do NOT need assistance from the government, are getting it. Stop complaining about the help and complain about the ones who are taking it from you.
Some people really do need help, I agree. And foodstamps really does make all the difference for some people. My mom used to not eat for days so we had food. You act like your owed something. Your not.
Foodstamps is government assistance, not support.

64 Christina March 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Well stated Emily. I agree 100% with you and you spelled it out so much better than I ever could. I also worked at a grocery store through High School and College. After College I worked in the medical field. Like you I also witnessed wasteful spending of taxpayer money (food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, etc.). It is disgusting when you are a proud person working and sacrificing to make your own way and you see your gov. take your hard earned money to give it to those who do nothing to make a contribution to society. People on food stamps DO buy food I would never buy (and my husband and I are far from poverty..when you work for your $ you are very careful what you spend it on) I also believe we should take care of those “in true need” but only them…not all the scammers. :)

65 Kristin May 21, 2012 at 11:55 am

Try having a family of 4 and only receiving 268.00! How do I feed my family on that every month? Two children under the age of 16 and a husband (and daughter) on disability. COUPONS!!! You can still coupon with your EBT card and looking up weekly sales and making a menu off of what is for sale each week, and you will make what you receive each month stretch. What you do save you can buy fresh (IN SEASON) fruits and veggies and decent cuts of meat. You can feed your family healthful meals if you put an hour into your menu planning each week. For a list of what’s in season, do a Google search and either print or copy a yearly list and keep it in your cabinet door for a resource. I have found savings better than Aldi and the dollar store.

66 Kbb979 August 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Recently moved to Florida 3 months ago and just applied for FS don’t know what’s going to happen with that, but I was on unemployment but that’s done, I have been searching for a job applied to over 100 different jobs and no call back.. Husband is also looking for a job he also applied to many places and nothing we had money saved but it’s almost gone with rent and bills. I hate when people look down on people who get assistance, and for the people that says get a job it’s easier said then done…

67 Lee August 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

I am a HHSC worker in Texas. First off, you cannot buy non food items with snap benefits. You cannot withdraw cash from a snap only card. If you see someone do this, it is because they are on cash assistance. There is a 30 day processing period for snap/medicaid. Some people are finished faster because they turn in CORRECT information faster than others. Some don’t need to turn in anything because we may have access to automatically verify their information (like if they are on Texas UIB or RSDI/SSI, for example). Some are eligible for emergency services for snap, some are not.
I eat on about $160 a month in food myself, but I rarely use coupons because I buy generic as it is. I do buy fresh produce though, which is the bulk of my budget. If I didn’t buy that, I could easily eat on just $100 a month.
As far as rude workers, I tend to give back whatever attitude my clients give me. It is not my fault they lost their job but aren’t eligible for something that day. It is not my fault they have five kids from five different daddies but are too lazy to work and want to live off child support. It is not my fault they are over the income limit for snap or something else.
In my experience after ten years of this, “rude” is just an excuse clients use to get what they think is “owed” to them.
I have never been on assistance in my life. I have even been homeless for a time, living out of my car, but I STILL WORKED. I have never even applied for assistance. When I was hungry and had no food….I went to a FOOOD BANK. Do you want to know how many times I’ve referred clients to a FOOD BANK for FOOD and they REFUSED because they complained about what they were given?
And they wonder why workers have attitudes when we listen to this ALL DAY LONG, five days a week.
“My kids won’t eat that”-and I’m talking about people complaining about STAPLES like PB, beans, rice, etc.
No, your kids won’t eat that, because they want soda pop and candy and you want to buy EXPENSIVE pre made frozen and canned foods instead of CHEAPER food you’d have to prepare yourself.
Oh, and don’t forget the cake and ice cream.
Yes, I realize not all welfare clients are liars and some REALLY need the assistance.
But there are a lot of people out there that need to LEARN how to shop and not buy SHRIMP and STEAK just because they CAN.

68 Lee August 6, 2012 at 11:02 am

Oh, and let me add a few things: We aren’t social workers. We aren’t here to be the client’s best friend or to solve all their problems. We average 12 appointments a day with very little “work time” to complete cases. And NO, it is not a simple matter of just “pushing a button” (I’ve had ignorant people actually say this to me). I have had MANY clients turn in paperwork and call me in the middle of one of my interviews TEN MINUTES after turning stuff in, wanting to know why their benefits are not on their card. I’m sitting there thinking, are you freaking KIDDING ME?
Never mind the HUGE number of people who complete their own information because they are too dishonest or lazy to do it correctly.
People need to be educated about HOW the system works, and more importantly, again…people need to be taught to shop economically. People are complaining about having ten dollars a day to spend on food for four people: it CAN be done. As others have said, buy what’s on sale/things you have coupons for , and build your menu around that. Make things from scratch, for instance, instead of canned beans, cook raw ones. No, you won’t be able to always buy what you want, but it shouldn’t be about what you WANT.
The snap program is exactly THAT- “supplemental”. If you want shrimp and steak…..use you own money to buy that. If you use your snap benefits to buy something that costs $7 a pound, don’t complain when you run out!

69 Lee August 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

Hey, what can I say? I’m on a roll. More observations: when you have a job, keep it. You would not believe the number of people who have a job(some with good jobs) who quit for really STUPID reasons, then waltz in to the public assistance office and expect sympathy and free benefits. I’m 41 years old, and I’ve had approximately SIX WEEKS since I was seventeen years old, that I did not work. Not all at one time, either. I’ve put up with a LOT of crap from a LOT of people over the years, all in the name of paying my own bills and keeping my jobs. I’ve had jobs I liked, and jobs I hated. I’ve had good bosses and crap bosses. I’ve had nice coworkers and rude, mean co workers. But I’ve never just walked off and quit and THEN expected the government to support me. And I will NEVER fathom the mentality of anyone who does. You’d be suprised how many people do just that, then get an attitude when told that voluntarily quitting a job without a good reason disqualifies them for a period of time, from receiving benefits. I have never failed to pay my own rent, or my own ANYTHING. I’ve never had anyone pay a single monthly bill of mine, EVER.
Americans are SO spoiled.

70 nikki t August 13, 2012 at 3:02 am

I recently lost my job and my husband is the only one working, minimum wage part time and we have a 3 year old. We pay rent, gas and electric, water and trash pickup and bus fare because we can’t afford a car. Yes we get foodstamps, and I will buy whatever I want with them because I’ve worked and paid into the system for over 15 years and I deserve them. Its not my fault I lost my job and I’m looking for one. I’m not used to staying at home with our child, I worked until the very day my water broke and went back three years later. I am very well educated and speak three languages and still cannot find work.our home even burned down 2 years ago and we’ve nver fully recovered. I waited to have a child and did all the right things so my situations has not derived from being irresponsible or ignorant and all those who run your mouth about what people buy with foodstamps and go f urselves. If my child wants icecream to have. On a hundred degree day by god she’s going to get it. I worked my butt off for years and so we’ve earned it

71 nikki t August 13, 2012 at 3:04 am

That’s 3 weeks lter not 3 years- that would’ve been great lol

72 Lee August 17, 2012 at 10:17 am

OH, Nikki. If you aren’t one of those who spends your stamps on junk food, then complains when you have no food…no one was talking about you, anyway hun.
I’m talking about those who waste it on high dollar food, junk food…then complain when the cupboards are empty.

If that’s not you…move on. Thanks.

73 Rebekah Bright August 21, 2012 at 8:11 am

Use your food stamps to buy food producing plants and seeds. Grow potatoes, yams, and squashes that are filling and propagate from your harvest. Save seeds and if you have a yard you can grow enough to have all you need. Keep your own chickens if possible. Even an apartment balcony can grow a great deal with a little imagination.

74 Kristinitis October 6, 2012 at 4:46 am

I know this post was old but I found it today, so others must be reading it too. Why not add my “two cents” but it’s long so must be more like 20 cents lol
Wow- Rebekah are you me, when I was asleep and created a new nickname?? haha- I tell everyone I know to use your food stamps to buy seeds (good luck finding any at grocery stores, they took them all out a year or so ago- conspiracy..?I just think it strange they are so hard to find lately) and I also tell people you CAN grow stuff even on an apartment balcony. I did it myself, I know. Anyone can grow food- what do you think we all LIVED on up until the 1940s?? Home GROWN food! Women were chastised for buying frozen/canned foods even up until the early 1960s. What gets me is, why didn’t our prez Bush when he was in office urge everyone to grow a “Victory Garden” like ours did back in the 40s during wartime?? No- Bush (and everyone else) told us all to “buy buy buy” meanwhile, corporations ripped everyone off, then took their manufacturing plants overseas- they CAUSED this mess! And they are NOT paying for the food stamps with their taxes, they pay none. Them, and the elite who charmed us all with lies that we all believed, because we didn’t educate ourselves about the truth concerning where all of our taxes went. Our fault!! We were fat and lazy- still are.

Food stamps are not a boon, they are a scourge on society. Not that long ago, food stamps/EBT was something to be ashamed about. As it SHOULD be. Lately, I see a lot of news articles namely one stating “hipsters using EBT cards to buy gourmet, wink wink!” tee hee, how CUTE- right? ugh I am disgusted. Another news article- “One in Seven Americans on Food Stamps” another “State no longer checking on private assets for Food Stamp eligibility” this is to make it almost an encouragement for us to BE on them. Trust me, I know quite well how propaganda and news media work. “Everybody’s doin’ it” WORKS. It is NO longer a great shame to burst out one’s EBT card at the store. Please, BE ashamed- the more are, the less likely they are to apply. Shame is what kept most (deserving..? funny word for it..) folks OFF the durn things. Why do many of you say “don’t be ashamed..” what’s’ wrong with a little humility, embarrassment?? That’s what kept us proper and GOOD since the beginning of time. LACK of said emotion is what makes a society savage.

My story: I was on EBT myself, for quite some time- and let me tell you, what I saw in the food stamp applications office dis-GUS-ted me. iPhones were in use by all – everyone was staring down at their damn smart phone tappying/typing away, wtf?? I didn’t even HAVE a phone- don’t tell me your “boyfriend bought it for you” have this wonderful “boyfriend” buy you FOOD you entitled little princess. I saw nice hair dos, nice manicures, and the people who had them always had an excuse “my boyfriend” “I had this before I got on food stamps” then yes, sell your car. Aww how SAD right? I had to pawn everything I had of VALUE, from my jewelry my mom got me for Christmas that can NEVER be replaced, I will never make enough to buy it myself- cars, anything I had that could be sold, WAS. Then, to top it off, I saw all kinds of people in that EBT office with nice clothes, phones, cars, and all laughing- smiling!! All happy, excited about their free handout they waited for. another thing- this is gonna angrify a lot of good people- I was THE only English speaker in the bunch. I have NEVER, ever felt anger toward any immigrants until that day. God help me. It’s not their fault, it’s our SYSTEM that is broken.

But yes, you can and should grow your own food.
A) it’s organic- priced it lately?
B) you can grow as much as you want space permitting.
C) it’s’ FUN and it’ll teach the kids where their food comes from.
Potatoes are EASY- plant one! Garlic too, just plant the sections use the freshest you can find to ensure it’s still alive.
Corn- forget it unless you have a yard and can water it a lot. Tomatoes are TOO easy and you will have too many. Zucchini, any of the gourds/melons will supply you and your neighbors in no time. Melons need a lot of space. Buy “patio bred” type plants there is even a “Patio” breed of tomato that is a smaller than regular plant, grown in pots.
When looking for a new apartment or home, keep a prospective garden area in mind. Houses are renting for what apartments cost per month now- look into it!

Food- I was one of those that made everything from scratch- I bought flour, beans, big bags of rice, produce and big cuts of meat to be cut up into sizes and frozen.

Another thing- I smoked cigarettes. People who smoke should NOT be receiving food stamps- period. That’s right. They cost me what I was GETTING in food stamps per month. Also, food stamps benefits end up being that one free pass that got me to buying things I never WOULD have, had I not had the card (oh I can afford such and such, since I don’t have a food bill wheeee!) for instance, the cigarettes. People whine about their “car payment” get rid of the car, then. Get rid of EVERYTHING you have to make some sort of high payment on.

I am not collecting food stamps now, and I finally have a phone- it’s only 13.60 per month, a regular old land line- no “special rate” either- yep that is how much a basic phone line cost in Arizona. We lived JUST FINE before cellphones, we did JUST FINE before internet.

There ARE no truly “poor” in America. Poor in other countries means no shoes, no roof and no warm clothing. No access to clean water, and actually STARVING to death. I don’t think any American has starved to death in this country in a hundred years on account of not having access to food. Go into any “poor” person home in US today, there is internet, and I guarantee you 99.8% have one of those newer type TVs and maybe a laptop and game system. THAT, my friends, is very selfish to me. Don’t tell me you “need internet for work/school” what did we all do BEFORE internet? Notice how things were a lot better, back in those days? And no I was not born in the 20s lol I am 40.


75 Quiet One October 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

The person you have described has clearly had a hard life, and I feel sad for her, however I do not understand how she “deserves” goverment assistance. Is it a human right to have “goverment assistance?” Since government assistance is funded by taxpayer money (legal obligation), are you also required to give your money (moral obligation) to disadvantaged people? Should I simply open my wallet and give homeless people money because they have had an unfortunate life and they “deserve” it? What happened to charity and being thankful for what others give you? What gives people the right to demand charity and shame the fortunate into giving money?

I just do not understand this line of reasoning where the government owes something because of an unfortunate situation. Be thankful for every cent you get. I know I am.

76 Dom November 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

First, I would like to state that yes, there are those who abuse the system. Probably a high percentage. BUT, that does NOT mean for some of these rude and ignorant folks on here to bash those who are getting it. @Kristinitis……you are so ignorant and might I say stupid? Some people who are homeless had computers and such BEFORE they were homeless. Also, why the heck should people that need food stamps be ashamed? I most certainly will not be ashamed of the 367 that me and my husband are getting because we needed them! And another thing, I DON’T HAVE TO GROW FOOD IF I DON’T WANT TO. I worked and paid taxes and if I need food stamps then that’s what I need! And I’ll buy what the heck I want since I put into the system! You’re so ignorant to say that there are truly no poor in America. Um, there are MILLIONS without homes, shoes, and food in America. There are lots of people getting laid off and losing EVERYTHING they have. I so happen to be one of those people who’s job closed without notice and lost my apartment. I was HOMELESS!!! And yes, I have a laptop……thank God for free wifi at McDonalds. I looked for a job for over a year and just literally started working. I have to wait for a least three good paychecks to move into an apartment……and on top of that, it might take longer being I have to pay for a monthly bus pass, hotel.stay (cause I’M still homeless, and ALL shelters are full), and shoes for work. So thank GOD for my foodstamps and the job he JUST blessed me with. You haven’t been through anything yet or you wouldnt be so judgemental!

77 Judi November 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm

@ Joanny Cime Lately… Use your head a little more here. No offense intended but you are not quite with your game. While you or I would think of shopping on a weekly basis you made no sense by telling the homeless guy to shop for the week. Whats he suppose to do ? Cart around his week supply of food ? I was homeless for sometime. I understand the point of you have to buy things that do not need to be cooked, something to be eaten right away…. and none of that is cheap.

78 kathryn February 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Kristinitis, what a great post !!!
So much of what you said, is spot on. Most people who are on FS are a snivelling bunch of people who think the world owes them a living. All they breed is another generation of “look what we got for free”.
When someone loses their job, they should go into extreme frugal mode. Actually, they should be doing it now. So anyone reading, what is your excuse for not stockpiling enough food supples to last you 6-12 months? Start prepaying utilities, or at the very least, start a savings account.
If your rent is eating up most of your income, find a cheaper place. get a pull out couch for the livingroom, if you need to downsize.
Take in a roommate. Offer to provide room and board (and a very small wage) to a single mom in exchange for babysitting duties, so you can still work. Start thinking !
You don’t deserve to smoke or drink if you are taking government benefits.
If we frugals are able to live on $25 per person a week for groceries, why can’t you? It’s not like you can’t do a google for everything. f you want to know something, jst ask. I’m sure most of us would be more than willing to share our knowledge with you.
But you won’t, because you have an attitude of entitlement. Welcome to it, because it will be with you your entire life, while others like me will be retired at 50 yrs, and be travelling.(frugally, of course)
There are plenty of ways to live cheaply, without being homeless.Lots of way of finding good cheap food.
Yes, be ashamed of pulling out that FS card, because we all know you don’t need to, you just aren’t willing to do anything for yourself.

79 Jenny February 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm

I hate food stamp, its so embrassing, no offense to anyone who have it. I am a college studen, i pay all my bills including rent and the basic. I have a daughter and the clinic that i take her think she is too advance for her age and because i can’t afford for all the test they want to do on her, they send me to singn up for medicade and the guy who did it apply for everything including food stamp. i got approve and i tell the rude ass guy who call to tell me i was approve for food stamp i told him i don’t want it and he was so disrespectful. I call and cancil it, so they can give it to someone who really needs it. I am a very hard working mother who provide for my kid, anyways the person said i have to use off the credit on the card but i don’t know anything about it.

80 Cynthia March 28, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Nice to see you were able to get EBT when you needed it I guess it must be because you’re in Texas. Every time I’ve applied in Louisiana I’ve been denied, the majority of them are for asinine reasons.

1st) You’re a student. (Note: I was a non-traditional student no longer living with my parents with a lease in my name.)
2nd) You don’t make enough. (I’m not joking. I was working freelance and literally just needed help for a month.)
3rd) You’re not unemployed. (My main job laid me off, but because they own another company that offers me contract work, I’m not unemployed. Side note: I just had to defer my student loans to pay my rent.)

I just go out and play guinea pig, sell my blood or possessions, or find a side job because it’s easier than getting a “hand up” from the Louisiana State Government.

81 Andy Hough March 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I was in Texas at that time, I haven’t lived there for quite a while. Judging from other people’s comments I must have got lucky with my caseworker. The process was pretty easy for me. That was the only time I ever applied for food stamps and I doubt I’ll ever qualify for them again so I don’t know what the process is like anywhere else.

82 ME April 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm


83 June Wright April 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm

@Kathryn: $25 a week for one person huh? Now does that $25 a week include things like toilet paper, body wash/bar soap, essentials that you need throughout the month to keep you and other things clean? Cause if it does then you better be living on a farm, slaughtering your own hogs, and growing your own fruit and vegetables. Try living on $40 a week for 3 people for groceries. This includes tp, etc etc. I got so tired of going to the store and spending 2 hours trying to buy food and putting half of it back because I couldn’t afford everything. I’m so glad I got expedited food stamps this week. Otherwise I wouldn’t be eating from Wednesday through Saturday of this week at all. This is only the third time in my 43 years that I’ve had to get food stamps. Much easier to get them than it is to find a church or food bank around here that will give you more than a sack of food and tell you to come back in 6 months. Seriously, the city owned food bank gives you a lb of rice, 1lb of beans, a few canned goods and a loaf of bread and says to come back in 6 months for more.

84 Meghan May 1, 2013 at 10:01 am

I want to say up front that I don’t have a problem with food stamps whatsoever. But EVERY SINGLE PERSON I know who is on them, buys frivolous things. They did not have this stuff before they went on food stamps. I’ve seen people buy brand spanking new computers, Kindles, Playstation 3’s, etc. Every female I know on food stamps buys hair dye. Others get their nails done frequently. Males still buy cigarettes even though they are homeless with kids. They all go out to eat practically every single day for multiple meals. Food Stamps doesn’t pay for fast food. It’s just stupid. Sometimes people just need to learn to budget and do without the things they just want to have and don’t actually need.

85 Gundy May 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Were you married at the time you were on food stamps? Your allowance seems higher than what my friends on foodstamps have reported ($80/month/person).

86 Andy Hough May 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm

That was just for me. I think the amount of food stamps varies from state to state and possibly even by county.

87 Kenzie June 7, 2013 at 8:25 am

I always love reading comments on posts like this because they are always filled with such hate for those who most need our help and kindness. I grew up in a upper middle class family who never needed FS or any kind of help. I think I may have in my teens, looked down on those who did. Now as a young mother I have seen just how hard it is to make a living. My husband has a “good job” around here that means two bucks above the min. I stay home because daycare for our two not yet school aged kids would be more than I would make a month working for min. We make enough to pay our bills most of the time but there is no buffer zone. We get 270 a month in FS. 270 for 4 people is 67.50 per person a month. It’s 16.88ish a week. We use all of it every month. We then use cash to buy the rest of the food we need. Maybe some of you out there can live on 17 dollars worth of food a week but we can’t. I think for all those out there “living off the government” there are two families using the help to get by.

88 aaron bonney June 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

you are all jaded, jacked up, un-helpful assholes.

89 Emma August 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

$80 a month per person does not seem like that much.

90 anonymous September 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Re. “I do not understand how she “deserves” goverment assistance. Is it a human right to have “goverment assistance?””, Kanzaki was expressing a personal opinion for compassionate help, and it is nonsensical to contort an opinion for compassionate help into a demand based on human or legal right. Do you now understand how misplaced your questions are?

The “deserve” issue is a red herring. One can ask: do the rich “deserve” their tax cuts? They say the top 1% now own something like 25% of all the wealth in the country and something like the bottom 30% have practically no savings (income spent on necessities like food and rent, not luxuries). The rich bribed… I mean lobbied Congress for and got massive tax cuts. The poor didn’t bribe anyone for the food stamps they got so why do they deserve to be asked if they deserve their paltry handouts? What a country! And “line of reasoning where the government owes something because of an unfortunate situation” is another red herring. Kanzaki never argued (reasoned) for anything of the sort. You twisted Kanzaki’s would-be-nice-if-the-gov-can-help comment on compassionate help into a false demand for help based on legal, moral, and human rights.

91 Mrs. Grant September 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm


Thank you so much for posting this! My heart goes out to you and even though your original post was in 2008, I hope that things have turned around for you. People don’t understand what it really means to struggle. Not to mention the COST of food. I appreciate your breakdown and for making it plain to those who just don’t get it.

92 C.j. October 18, 2013 at 10:04 am

I agree w/ meghan Most of those I see on foodstamps are wasteful. I’d say where I work I’ve only seen just 1% of the population using foodstamps the right way. The rest of the 99% of foodstampers are WASTEFUL. It’s hard going to work everyday to hear foodstamp whiners complain that the $1500 $1800 and yes even $3200 isn’t enough to feed their family of three when they are buying nothing but $200 in junkfood and candy since that’s all we sell at work and bread and milk. And I also hate the ones I see putting back food to buy cigarettes and beer w/ their welfare cards.
Personally, I’m glad foodstamps are being overhauled and cut back starting in Novemeber its about time! I’m all for the government helping people but my understanding of foodstamps is that its NOT supposed to be your sole source of food income according the brochure on my state’s website its supposed to be a help with some TEMPORARY food relief not make people learned helpless and government dependent–Look at Jason the Surfer

93 Holly October 26, 2013 at 10:34 pm

I’m not sure what you eat or where you live, but I know that I could not make it on $160/month for all food. That’s like $40/week. I mean… I could make it if I was eating mostly junk and not good food, but not if I wanted things that were actually healthy and nutritious…

94 lucy November 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I never heard of anyone buying hair color, computer, etc. with foodstamps. Foodstamps do not pay for anything but food, not even prepared food is eligible. It must be food that you buy to cook or vegetables, canned goods, desserts. The person who said people buy computers and hair color is lying. And I can’t imagine anyone living on $160 a month for one person unless you’re getting fed elsewhere and using their paper goods, soap to wash clothes, etc. Foodstamps do not pay for paper goods or detergent, soap, etc. Now, I think that folks who need help should not be embarrassed but when they start giving them to illegal immigrants, that’s when I get angry. Foodstamps are to help Americans, not folks who crept across the border and had a bunch of kids here and get benefits.

95 anonymous November 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I think you’ve misread Meghan’s comment. Meghan’s premise is food stamp receipients should be spending their cash income on food instead of getting food stamps and wasting their cash income (that would otherwise be spent on food) on non-essential items like hair dye and computers. She does not say those non-essential items were paid for with food stamps. You can choose to read that into Meghan’s post but she did not state that explicitly or does she imply that.

You are correct on what may or may not be legally bought with food stamps as described on this webpage

Re. “when they start giving them to illegal immigrants, that’s when I get angry. Foodstamps are to help Americans, not folks who crept across the border and had a bunch of kids here and get benefits”, don’t get angry. Illegal immigrants and their dependents (siblings, kids, parents, whatever) are not eligible for Gov assistance (Fed, state, local) of any kind (grants, loans, welfare, disaster relief, whatever). This is a lie the Far Right spreads to smear our Gov with helping illegal immigrants to get their illegal votes. Ever wonder why people have to wait so long between applying for and receiving benefits? That’s because the Gov is checking everything on their applications to make sure they are who they say they are and they’re not lying to get benefits. This fact-checking exercise takes time and money that the Far Right then attacks as wasteful Gov inefficiency. See how this works? Now, food stamps are available to LEGAL immigrants on a limited basis but illegal immigrants don’t stand a dog’s chance. It’s discussed at the bottom of this webpage

96 KMW December 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I know these are old comments are old, but I had to comment to correct Emily’s statement. People are not using food stamps as “cash” the EBT cards are also used for cash assistance that some people may get. In this case the cash is put onto the card and able to be used as any other debit/credit card. Ahh to be young again… at 18, you have all the answers to ALL the problems. Hopefully, at some point, you grow up and realize you have no idea “why” or “what” a person is going through. As a cashier at a store you can’t possible have any idea what your customers life is like, so maybe you should withhold judgement.

97 KMW December 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm

People like you crack me up!!! Stockpiling food? Prepaying utilities?? It’s obvious you are one of the young ones with all the answers. I don’t know you obviously, but it’s safe to assume you have never had it “rough”. Be careful, life is unpredictable, you never know what will happen. IT, LIFE… can happen to ANYONE, no matter how prepared you are, things can happen. So GET OVER YOURSELF and stop judging people. You, and others like you, have NO IDEA the circumstances which led to others needing assistance.

98 KMW December 14, 2013 at 6:53 pm

The link you provided even explains this info, NO ILLEGAL aliens cannot get assistance, BUT if they have American borne children, they can get assistance for them. The link you provided as well as many other informative sites regarding food stamps explains this and even states that applying for this assistance (FOR THEIR CHILDREN, OF COURSE) will not interfere with their “status” at all. They will not have to give any info about themselves. So see how this works? No essentially illegal immigrants can’t get assistance, but their children (borne here=american citizen) can. Seems to me the lie the government is telling us is quite the opposite of how you see it. This article explains how a family who is all citizens of the US may be denied for assistance due to income, but a household making the same amount, which has illegal immigrants included would be approved. How can that be? Well you see, the illegal’s income would not be factored in.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the “parent” who is NOT getting the assistance, is still benefiting from their children who are.

99 anonymous December 30, 2013 at 10:44 am

The US-born children in lucy’s “Foodstamps are to help Americans, not folks who crept across the border and had a bunch of kids here and get benefits” are US citizens (“Americans”) by virtue of native birth and are eligible for food stamps. lucy appears to think that food stamps go to “folks who crept across the border” but they are actually going to their US-born children and not the illegal immigrants themselves. My post was to assure lucy that food stamps are not available to anyone illegal including illegal family members of illegal immigrants. If you’re illegal, the Gov will not give you food stamps. If you’re legal, the Gov will give you food stamps if you qualify (varies by state). What lie in “the lie the government is telling us is quite the opposite of how you see it” do you mean?
That illegal immigrants may benefit from their US-born children’s food stamps is secondary to the help the children will get from the aid. The situation is less than ideal but life is sometimes messy. A similar potential problem exists with child support payments in divorced families. There’s no guarantee that payments will be used solely for the children’s benefit but the children will certainly be worse off if payments are stopped. is the original story your link discusses. It appears the loophole has been closed in KS as of October 2012. I am guessing that this discrepancy in eligibility rules came about inadvertently and that illegal immigrants aren’t entering the US solely to take advantage of this loophole. If we find a problem, we should fix it. We don’t destroy the whole system just because we found something wrong with it. Feel free to lobby the Gov to close this loophole.

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