Trying Not to Make a SNAP Judgement
Mar 28, 2013
It seems like it has happened to all of us. We are in the checkout line at the grocery store and the person in front of us is paying with food stamps. We look in their shopping cart and question the quality and/or amount of their purchases. When this happens we tend to judge the whole program by our limited sample size. There’s no doubt, as with any system, that people abuse SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Surprisingly USDA doesn’t tell recipients what products they can or cannot purchase. I find that interesting as more and more politicians seem to want to tell us what we shouldn’t drink(i.e. large sodas) or how much we should eat(i.e. school lunches). USDA says SNAP fraud is at a historically low level and trafficking(exchange of benefits for cash)is down to 1%. USDA is now working with states to try to lower those numbers even more. I’m sure they will never stop all fraud and abuse of the system but I’m glad they are trying. Congress is looking at possible reforms of the program but it remains to be seen if they will be passed as we have already seen the farm bill delayed to prevent any SNAP cuts. As more and more people truly need the assistance, I would hate to see them penalized for the misdeeds of a few so I’ll try to keep that in mind next time I’m looking at that cart in front of me at the grocery store.