And one reason categorical eligibility has been expanded has been to not use federally imposed assets tests to determine eligibility. Assets tests are a type of test designed to see if the family has means to survive without aid. (Hence the term in social insurance, means-testing.) According to the CBO , for the purpose of that test, assets include cash, amounts in bank accounts, and other types of financial resources, but they exclude the value of houses, retirement or education savings accounts, and (in most states) cars. Normally, if you have more than $2,000 in assets, you do not qualify for SNAP. In the past 10 years however, 41 states have opted to go with categorical eligibility in order to circumvent this test, either eliminating assets tests or raising them much higher. You can see a map of the evolution of this trend here . Its worth noting that the GOPs aggressive implementation of these asset tests pushes against major trends in social policy, and theres at least five major problems with this approach from the policy point of view. 1. Poverty traps Chart by CBO . One thing policymakers are concerned about when it comes to creating social insurance is whether or not it creates bad incentives for those in the program. Having an assets test at such a low level forces people into situations where they might have to spend money they wouldnt otherwise spend, and defer savings, in order to continue to qualify for using food stamps to fight poverty and food insecurity. These problems are usually described as poverty traps. Understanding them, and working to fix or blunt them, has been a major piece of policymaking for decades.
“Our interest outgo is huge around Rs ****** crore every month. Since that is eating up the state’s coffers, we had asked for a moratorium for the state. With the new financial burden in place, it is not possible for us to bear it further,” said a state finance department official. “The proposed bill will cripple finances and increase deficits for the cash-strapped state, already reeling under the financial crunch, said the official. Meanwhile, state’s food and supplies secretary Anil Verma will talk to the is likely to meet food secretaries of other states on Monday to set the agenda for the ministers’ conference. The states were given have been provided a year for the implementation of the act ensuring heavily-subsidized food grains for about 82 crore people in the country. Some states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh , Rajasthan, Uttranchal, Mizoram and Delhi have already started implementing the act. The act will cover about 75% and 50% per cent of rural and urban population respectively under the targeted public distribution scheme as a single category, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month. They will get rice, wheat and coarse grains at the rates of Rs 3, 2 and1 per kg respectively. The Bengal government is already providing rice at Rs 2 per kg in the Maoist-affected Jangalmahal area. “Even if you take out Rs 500 crore, which we have to provide for the subsidized rice in Jangalmahal, it comes to around Rs 1,700 crore. Under the present financial condition, the state is not in a position to bear the burden,” said Jyotipriyo Mullick, food and supplies minister of the state. According to the proposal, while the Centre will bear 78% subsidy for implementing food security bill , state government will have to bear 22%. “We are not opposing food at a subsidized rate, but state finances are not in a position to bear the additional burden,” Mullick added.
“Sell by”: The manufacturer’s suggested date to the grocer to no longer sell a product, based on the idea that it will still be good quality for a “reasonable” time if purchased on that date. Still, more than 90% of Americans say they use those dates to decide whether to discard food, leading to tons of wasted food each year, the report notes. “I don’t know of any data that consuming a product beyond the date has caused illness,” said Labuza, a professor of food science and engineering at the University of Minnesota who has studied shelf life for decades. His sour cream was OK because he keeps his refrigerator at 34 degrees. He recommends consumers let theirs go no higher than 40 degrees and get a thermometer to make sure. Even at that temperature, listeria can grow, he cautioned. But that is not related to those stamped dates. When food spoils, it might smell rotten, be slimy or soft or change color. Those are signs that food should be discarded, Labuza said at a news conference. In addition, food that is improperly handled, at any point from field or factory to table, can become a danger for illness, he said. The NRDC report calls for revamping the labels so that it’s clear what any dates mean.
As Washington debates, some U.S. states proceed with food stamps cuts
Agriculture Department provides paper coupons or debit cards for low-income people to buy food. But states can ask for the work requirement to be added, which Oklahoma and Kansas have done. Phyllis Gilmore, Secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, announced the work requirement in early September. In Oklahoma, a bill approved by state lawmakers earlier this year made the change. Both of those two states, as well as Wisconsin, have a Republican governor and Republican-controlled legislature. Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon said the work requirement would help food stamp recipients to “break their addiction to government subsidies.” The change will affect about 20,000 Kansas residents, state officials said. Oklahoma Department of Human Services spokesman Mark Beutler said he was not sure how many people would be affected there. The changes have drawn criticism from some advocates for the poor and unemployed. “It’s the wrong thing to do,” said Louis Goseland, campaign director for Sunflower Community Action, based in Wichita, Kansas. “It’s not as though starving 20,000 people will do anything to change unemployment. It is punitive to the most vulnerable people in the state.” President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package in 2009 suspended the work requirement nationwide to help the growing number of unemployed during the recession. Even as the economy and job picture have improved, the waiver has remained in most states. Five states – Delaware, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming – have not used the waiver in recent years for a variety of reasons, according to a recent report by Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent public policy research group.