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May 19, 2007



Try $63.00 a month for a single female on disability who is at the federal poverty line, qualifies for extra help from Part D, gets federal help w/phone bill. Why no cost of living considerations????? Where is the equity in giving different adults half what another adult receives in EBT? I know someone who lives with someone who gets three times (male) the amount a single female receives who has no roommates. It is ridiculous to rate people and give some $150 and others $63. Make it equitable. It is lopsided and the last two weeks of the month I wish could buy a half a gal of milk. My doc says to get calcium. Well, if I recvd more EBT, I could get milk more than one trip per month! And, if I economize and buy frozen, that's okay but WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE POWER IS OUT?

Nira Moore

Actually, it was Loverboy who did that song. Not relevant to the content of the article, I admit. Good for you, for trying to live the other side for awhile. As a former food stamp recipient, now successful and comfortable, I can honestly say that I could not have "made it" without that assistance. Was it enough? That's hard to say. I received about of $230/month (can't remember exact amounts) for myself and my daughter (living in Northern Kentucky, earning an income below federal poverty level), far more than the averages listed in the information on your site. We didn't go hungry, and with careful planning, we ate well. Being vegan/vegetarian helped as we were not at the mercy of high meat and dairy prices. I'd hate to see this program go the way of WIC (another program I could not have done without). I hope that your efforts, and the efforts of those who have joined you on this experiment, will succeed in raising awareness about hunger, and bolstering this much-needed social program.

Heather Cummings Jensen

Just reading a headline earlier in the week got my family thinking. It's been a running theme of conversation for the last several days. Thank you for sparking all this consideration.

Ian MacLeod

Try it for a lifetime. I was injured at work, and the insurance company delayed until I lost the job - and the insurance, I was 28, working ambulance. I had a politically unpopular problem: low back pain radiating into the left leg. The assumptions were: a) x-rays showed nothing wring, so I was faking, asking for drugs (I have ni histiry of drug abuse), and b) I couldn't prove I was in pain. It took ten years of fighting for help to get treated. I spent time living on the street, and in former friends living rooms. I was told repretedly what a lying wimp I was, etc. I LOST EVERYTHING: my wife (she believed the docs), all I owned, my self-respect and dignity. I had been a martial artist and a rock climber as well. It took 2 years and a lawyer to get SSDI. It took 10 years and another wife who fought for me to get treatment. I've had to quit eating the last 8-10 days of the mont.

If the right teasts and an operation had been done, I could have been working all this time.

Now I've had 6 operations (4 screwed up) through the VA (which is looking hard for an excuse to get rid of me), my wife has end-stage COPD with me her only caretaker (I'm 6'1", usually 220 lbs, now down to 150), and we get $10 a month in food stamps. Try THAT.


Marie Beichert

Thank you so much for bringing attention to this issue. It is unfortunate that so many see the poor as responsible for their position. I suppose it is some deep-seated survival of the fittest syndrome. It affects the debate on immigration and so much more. I spend considerable time trying to disseminate prison reentry program evaluations that prove incredible drops in recidivism when ex-offenders are given one year of food, housing and the educational tools to find jobs and break old habits. As you can imagine, not easy to buck the public perception of "criminals" and the "throw away the key" mentality. Well, never mind. It's heartening to know that a few politicians are walking the walk, if even for week. Keep the faith.

Ian MacLeod

Please pardon the earlier spelling. I type lying on one side, and it was dark, as my wife was still asleep. She sleeps more and more lately. I was up in part because my medication had worn off, and the nerve damage (read "pain") is an efficient alarm clock - I wake every 2-3, sometimes 4, hours. I also forgot to mention: because we "make so much" on Social Security Disability, we get $10 a MONTH in food stamps.



I find myself constantly thinking about the food stamp challenge ever since I read the Washington Post article about it last week. Thank you for doing this!

I'm a graduate student living on a very limited budget, so the cost of food is always a big consideration for me. Despite being primarily vegetarian and very thrifty with food, I still expect to spend around $35 a week, including paper products, soap, etc. (This is a diet that consists of dried beans, potatoes, cabbage, a few frozen veggies, a head of lettuce a week, sometimes a bit of milk and cheese, lots of spaghetti and day old bread.) Food is not my biggest concern right now, for which I'm very grateful, though there are times that I end up eating really odd, nutritionally unbalanced meals at the end of the week.

After reading the comments on your blog, I realize how lucky I am. I feel so selfish by how much my financial worries scare me, despite the fact that my situation is (hopefully) short term. I hope and pray that I don't get sick or get a nasty toothache that must be fixed. I haven't been to a dentist in over 8 years, and I know I'm playing the odds right now.

How can we expect millions of US citizens to live this way permanently? (Many in situations that make mine look like a walk in the park.) And how can we consider ourselves to be a compassionate country without an adequate social support system for those who need it?

J.L. Delozier

I cannot imagine what it is like to constantly worry about food and whether or not I can afford it today; I have been very lucky. Although I do not know the circumstances of those who receive food stamps, I do believe that there is an abuse of the system. I am sure that many people on welfare, WIC, etc. have been temporarily side-tracked due to an illness, injury, divorce, or some other stroke of bad luck. Many will do their best to get back on their feet again with the assistance of these public and private programs, re-education, and a supportive friend, family member, etc. However, I also believe that our government creates a class of individuals who choose to stay at the poverty level as long as possible because of its benefits. Granted, $21/week is not a "benefit", but there are many who find a way to work the system. If Congress decides to increase the food stamp allotment and/or other entitlements, I suggest they consider attaching some sort of timeline which encourages individuals to move forward and not use these "benefits" as a way of life. I applaud those who are attempting to break away from welfare and know that there are many people who never thought they would be in such a position. If our government can help individuals, families get through these tough, transitionary times, then I know my tax dollars are being used appropriately. Perhaps, Congress needs to rethink their lifestyle and salary expectations when so many are doing without fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, and lean meat (let's not even talk about organic fruit, prime meat cuts, and Evian water, Senator).

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