Is the commonwealth government’s sense of responsibility to uphold the constitutional mandate to work for the common good of all Pennsylvanians dead?
Is the commonwealth government’s sense of responsibility to uphold the constitutional mandate to work for the common good of all Pennsylvanians dead? This question came to me as I departed from the Department of Public Welfare budget briefing on Feb. 7. The only answer I could come up with in the moment was not yet — but it’s on life support and the prognosis looks grim.
The outlook is particularly bleak if you are poor, though it isn’t a lot better for higher education, public education or a lot of other activities that fall under the state’s purview.
The move to redefine who's truly needy comes after cash-strapped states saw a surge of applications for food stamp aid during the economic downturn.
By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Corbett raises limit on assets for food stamps, but critics blast the idea of a test
"An asset test is a complete waste of Pennsylvania taxpayers' money at a time when our state can't afford to squander any of its resources," said Coalition Director Carey Morgan.
By Alfred Lubrano
Inquirer Staff Writer
"Do we really want to reduce access [to SNAP benefits] for senior citizens?" Vilsack asked.
By Alfred Lubrano
Inquirer Staff Writer
The federal official in charge of the U.S. food stamp program said Thursday that Pennsylvania's plan to tie food-stamp benefits to people's assets will save the state nothing and create more problems than it solves.
Secreatary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in Philadelphia to discuss President Obama's State of the Union message, said the asset test, "is not going to save the commonwealth a single dime," and would, in fact, cost the state money to implement.
It is hard to imagine the problem warrants a change that will penalize people who are working hard to get back on their feet.
In 1997, the federal government revamped our national welfare system.
Under the new rules, people were given better ways to get job training and chart a course off of welfare.
One of the most significant changes from AFDC to TANF, as the new program was called, allowed people to keep more assets; for example, own a car worth more than $1500.
It had become painfully clear over the previous decades that the kind of financial limits placed on families who needed assistance simply continued to suck them into the welfare system.
"If they had a chance to sit in my shoes, they would be happy to have a program to help people who did work all their life."
By Jesse Washington, AP National Writer
Some have advanced degrees and remember middle-class lives. Some work selling lingerie or building websites. They are white, black and Hispanic, young and old, homeowners and homeless. What they have in common: They're all on food stamps.
PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE OP-ED: The food stamp asset test would be a disaster for poor Pennsylvanians
My own small savings is set aside for my funeral and burial expenses, and I was terrified that it would disqualify me for the food stamps I need to pay for groceries.
By Mary Elizabeth McCarthy
Imagine having to choose between buying food or paying medical expenses in order to maintain the meager savings you've put together for your own funerals.
Just this feeling of dread -- something that no senior citizen should have to experience -- washed over me last week when I read about the Corbett administration's proposed asset test for food stamps.
The middle class is already shrinking, while the number of working poor increases. This is not the time to push more people and families further into poverty.
By Alan Butkovitz
The Daily News' Jan. 12 editorial was spot-on in exposing the fact that Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to reinstitute food-stamp asset tests will not only hurt thousands who are struggling to put food on the table, but the rest of the commonwealth as well.
"It's a disgrace," Irene says of the asset test. "Every single woman I know is scraping by. How do they expect us to exist?"
Annette John-Hall, Inquirer Columnist
Oh, the irony of it all.
On Monday, I tried to get someone in Harrisburg to explain why, in the name of all that's fair and just, low-income Pennsylvanians who have managed to build up a modest savings are slated to have their food stamps - now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - cut off.
When I called the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, the office was closed - for the Martin Luther King holiday.