My Food Stamp Experience

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.

115 thoughts on “My Food Stamp Experience

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


  7. 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!

  8. @ 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.

  9. 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.

    • 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    • 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.

  12. @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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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).

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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…

  18. 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

        • 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.

  19. Hi everyone;
    Where I live there are no food stamps; however, there are food banks where people can get a week’s worth of food for free – a small bag of food, and hardly any vegetable or fruit, but enough to survive on (bread, pasta, peanut butter, etc.). If the person has any sort of income (even such as welfare, unemployment, etc.) and the food bank is used to supplement, there is enough.

    re: others on food stamps and not having enough.
    It really must be awful to basically have to make a choice between food and heating the apartment. However, from the few comments that I’m seeing, there ARE other solutions.
    For example, Mary G could find another, cheaper place to live (and pay the lease-breaking penalty which she will probably save within 2 months with her cheaper rent), sublet a bedroom in her place (even HER bedroom – and sleep in the living room), find a new job, resale the car and use public transportation, etc.

    For people with good jobs, it’s not enough to enjoy our jobs; it’s our duty to save an emergency fund so that if we are laid off, we have something to live on while we look for another job (I realize that it’s very hard if our budget is very tight even with our job); we also need to plan about kids – if we can’t afford to raise and feed 4-5 kids, maybe we need to either figure out how to make more money before we have more kids, or have fewer kids. Unfortunately, having kids is a financial exercise as much as an exercise in parenting. Finally, Kanzaki, nobody NEEDS to take your order at McDonald’s – you do not NEED to eat at McDonald’s. And yes, kids who are poor are suffering from being poor – not getting coke and chips; but is that really what having money is about? I’m more worried about poor kids not playing sports, not traveling, not spending quality time with a parent because the parents are working-poor and spend all their time working, not getting books to read, but being glued to the TV 24/7. So if they have to skip the chips and 7-up, I don’t really care.

  20. I know people on food stamps who still don’t have enough to eat. When I see what they are eating I can understand why. Too many are buying processed foods instead of foods that they can cook themselves. Yes it takes longer but in the end it saves money. Where I live a 10 pound bag of chicken legs goes for about $7.00 yet the person I know buys the already cooked and then frozen chicken legs in the plastic bags for $6.00 for 5 lbs. Mac and cheeses at about .69 cents a box that feeds maybe two people where the person can make their own and feed more cheaper. Spaghetti and meatballs goes a long way if you make it from scratch and you can also serve spaghetti and lentils in a tomato sauce if you can’t afford the hamburger. Lentils can make all kinds of dishes from salads to veggie burgers which are healthy and delicious. I also see people at the store buying tons of soda and junk food on their food stamps which is another reason why they run out of food before the month is up. Also they can use coupons and thus save money on their stamps.

  21. I think it depends on where you live and what you eat. If you want any fresh produce $160 isn’t going to cut it in New Mexico. The same $160 though would easily cover produce in California.

  22. For way too long now I’ve been more than ashamed that I’ve had to depend on government help. I’ve worked since the age of 14. Unfortunately circumstances have forced me into a situation where no matter how hard I’ve tried not to need food stamps I just haven’t been able to provide for my family on my own. I can’t sleep because I don’t know where my next meal will come from or how I will pay my next bill. You got $160 for yourself only. Guess what. I receive $140 for a family of 4. Go figure? Should I really be ashamed when I have worked practically all my life? I don’t know but I do know I want to get completely out of the system. If there is some help for me to work while my children are at school or help paying for child care I definitely would get completely off the system. It’s not like I don’t appreciate the help either because if I’d ever make enough I would like to give back. No one knows what desperate needs have brought many of us to ask for help. Just today I saw a musician outside of sprout’s playing for money trying to feed his 2 children. It’s not like he was just sitting there bumming money from people. There are many situations that put us in unfortunate situations. I’m not about to spill mine out here. All I know it’s about high time people stop being so judgmental.

    • I totally agree that the judging needs to stop – we are here to help each other, not criticize!

      Obviously, $140 per month is not enough for 4 people – no matter where you live in North America. I spent that much per week for 4 (and we eat mostly non-processed food).

      Good luck – hang in there.

  23. I am 51 yrs old. I am disabled (I have MS). I applied for food stamps almost a year ago and at first got $140mo, I was able to eat almost every day. Then about 7mo ago I received a letter telling me that my amount was dropped to $93mo. I go for days without anything to eat because $93 isn’t enough. I tried food banks but 2 boxes of jello, instant mashed potatoes when you don’t have milk, usually a can of peas or green beans which I have gotten desperate enough to eat. I get $980mo in Social Security (I worked all my life till about 12yrs ago), my mortgage is $700mo and my electric is $100 and my water is usually around $130. This does my whole check in like for instance this month I paid my bills and have .76cents lefts for the rest of the month. I’m not trying to whine but a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with ANL leukemia and started treatments and now I’m drowning in doctor bills and the money I have to give someone to take me for treatments is impossible. I live in Pennsylvania and I’m just wondering if anyone knows anything I can do? I can’t walk unassisted anymore and I’m at the end of my rope.

    • Hi Tracy;
      I live in Canada, so I don’t know about Pennsylvania rules and resources. However, I’m wondering if you can take in a boarder – or share your lodging in some ways. Since housing is typically the highest expense for most people, cutting that (even by only 10%) is a huge chunk compared to reducing expenses on anything else. A shared house here would be at least $500 a month (with a private bedroom – not a private bath) so it would bring down your costs quite a bit.

      Another way to reduce your spending would be to move. If you moved to an apartment, you may be able to get down to a lower amount that includes water and heat.

      Around here, we have a couple of places that offer free meals once a day. Of course people have to get there, which isn’t easy for some. They are located in some neighbourhoods that have more needs, but it still doesn’t reach everyone.

      Hang in there!

  24. I submitted everything they asked me to, example, I had to make copies of my birth certificate 2x my social security 2x, bank statements 2x my social security 2x my pension 2x , I had a phone interview 4pm the scribe faxed everything 2x I went to the office my information was in the computer, I called a 1-800 number the lady said the clerk did not put my information on time hence the reason they rejected my case. I complied with everything they asked for. I am on a fixed income. Everywhere I went (2 different pharmacies) wanted to charge me 30.00, next one wanted to charge me 32.00. I had to get on a bus by the courthouse the next pharmacy charged me 11.00 . I worked for Medicaid for 19 years and this is the treatment I got!!!!!!

  25. I worked for Medicaid for 19 years I did not want to retire but due to pressure on the job from the director. (she did not want to send me to training, I had transferred to the helpline. Everybody else had training. She called me in the office and asked me how long did I work, I informed I did not deal with clients. She told me that I should know how to answer clients when the calls came in. My co-workers had four months of training, I wanted to transfer out she called me in the office and she told I will not get any training and to put it in my head I will not be transferred out!!! My co-workers were shocked that she refused to let me go to training. I was very stressed out because I did not know how to answer the clients. My pressure went to 190/90 my sugar went to 300. All the supervisors including the director monitored the workers all day long they timed how long you were on the phone. I left my desk one day because one well-trained worker called me to her desk to show me what I did wrong, a supervisor came to the worker’s desk to let me know that I have been away from my desk for 10 minuets. Some days I would feel my left hand getting numb
    With stinging pain on my left hand. I was getting scared that I would sit there and get a stroke so, I decided it was not worth the struggle!!! I applied for food stamps, submitted everything twice anthe same with scribe and was rejected!!!!!

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