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Mon May 20, 2013, 08:36 AM

Why can't people use food stamps to buy hot/cook foods?

seriously. Too me it makes no sense why a hot sandwich or piece of chicken that is cooked is better than an uncooked.


We had a friend whose oven was broke and they didn't have a the money to fit it so he had to come to our house for a two weeks to cook his food NOT to mention that his crappy $40 he gets doesn't go too far. To me and my wife him being allowed to maybe buy a hot meal or two at the the gap between pay checks.

This poor guy is seriously under employed and is looking for more work but even with the improving economy it still seems like nothing is growing in the Westerns PA Eastern Ohio area.

But to me what is the freaking difference between hot food and cold food.

49 replies, 6462 views

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Reply Why can't people use food stamps to buy hot/cook foods? (Original post)
diabeticman May 2013 OP
PeaceNikki May 2013 #1
diabeticman May 2013 #3
eShirl May 2013 #2
htuttle May 2013 #4
enough May 2013 #7
Matariki May 2013 #37
htuttle May 2013 #41
Matariki May 2013 #47
rl6214 May 2013 #45
sweetapogee May 2013 #43
Gman May 2013 #5
Puzzledtraveller May 2013 #6
HappyMe May 2013 #8
Puzzledtraveller May 2013 #9
diabeticman May 2013 #10
wercal May 2013 #12
sammytko May 2013 #15
wercal May 2013 #16
sammytko May 2013 #18
MADem May 2013 #27
Puzzledtraveller May 2013 #17
MADem May 2013 #29
Cirque du So-What May 2013 #11
blueamy66 May 2013 #14
HappyMe May 2013 #19
blueamy66 May 2013 #22
HappyMe May 2013 #24
Puzzledtraveller May 2013 #20
Cirque du So-What May 2013 #21
joeglow3 May 2013 #30
Cirque du So-What May 2013 #32
joeglow3 May 2013 #44
clarice May 2013 #33
sammytko May 2013 #13
diabeticman May 2013 #31
kairos12 May 2013 #23
Egalitarian Thug May 2013 #25
Autumn May 2013 #36
demwing May 2013 #26
Lizzie Poppet May 2013 #34
Xithras May 2013 #38
SoCalNative May 2013 #28
Cleita May 2013 #35
cherokeeprogressive May 2013 #39
rl6214 May 2013 #40
demwing May 2013 #42
Cleita May 2013 #46
rl6214 May 2013 #49
Celldweller May 2013 #48


Response to PeaceNikki (Reply #1)

Mon May 20, 2013, 08:40 AM

3. That's just BS. Seriously are they trying to get rid of the program by "outlawing" food

a little at a time.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 08:40 AM

2. because they want poor people to be inconvenienced as much as possible, as often as possible

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 08:41 AM

4. It's punishment for being poor -- hot foods are considered a luxury

In other words, if you are poor, it must be your fault.

The sentiment is probably rooted in our country's Puritan/Calvinist history, and exacerbated by the Randian ideas currently plaguing our society.

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Response to htuttle (Reply #4)

Mon May 20, 2013, 08:44 AM

7. Yes. (nt)

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Response to htuttle (Reply #4)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:42 PM

37. How is having money given to you for food a 'punishment'?

Prepared food is generally more expensive than raw ingredients, so I'd guess the idea behind it is that you can get more food for your money.

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Response to Matariki (Reply #37)

Mon May 20, 2013, 03:30 PM

41. And if you don't have a kitchen?

Or a roof to squat beneath?

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Response to htuttle (Reply #41)

Mon May 20, 2013, 05:51 PM

47. I was only arguing with your premise that the reason is "punishment"

I agree if someone doesn't have a place to cook then being able to buy a hot, prepared meal would be beneficial. But I'm sure that the logic in the decision is about quantity of food for the dollar, not some nefarious plot to punish the poor. Not that our society doesn't punish the poor, but giving food assistance isn't one of them.

http://www.masslegalhelp.org/income-benefits/fshomelessness

Myth: You can buy food only at grocery stores.
Fact: Homeless people can use SNAP/Food Stamps benefits at other places. You can use SNAP/Food Stamps benefits to pay for meals at soup kitchens and homeless shelters that are authorized to accept SNAP/Food Stamps benefits.

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Response to Matariki (Reply #37)

Mon May 20, 2013, 04:26 PM

45. This is it exactly

 

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Response to htuttle (Reply #4)

Mon May 20, 2013, 03:43 PM

43. looking at the big picture

it is unhealthy to consume transfats or soda > 16 oz.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 08:42 AM

5. Going way way way back

to when food stamps first were used, my understanding was you could buy much more uncooked food than cooked good. At least that's what I was told many years ago.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 08:43 AM

6. Yum Brands based in Louisville Kentucky

Was advocating for SNAP to be allowed to be used for prepared foods. Of course it is all out of self interest because Yum is KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 08:48 AM

8. It doesn't make a damn bit of sense

to me at all.
Nobody tells me what groceries to buy. I don't see what's wrong with someone wanting to get a roasted chicken or a ready made quiche. I guess it's a matter of making people feel even worse about their situation, and controlling them.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:02 AM

9. From the USDA

http://www.fns.usda.gov/SNAP/rules/Legislation/about.htm

The First Food Stamp Program (FSP) - May 16, 1939-Spring 1943

The idea for the first FSP is credited to various people, most notably Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program's first Administrator Milo Perkins. The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every $1 worth of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could only be used to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus.

Over the course of nearly 4 years, the first FSP reached approximately 20 million people at one time or another in nearly half of the counties in the U.S.--peak participation was 4 million--at a total cost of $262 million. The first recipient was Mabel McFiggin of Rochester, New York; the first retailer to redeem the stamps was Joseph Mutolo; and the first retailer caught violating the program was Nick Salzano in October 1939. The program ended "since the conditions that brought the program into being--unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment--no longer

I have been a SNAP worker for about 4 years. The reason I hear most often for the restriction is nutrition. I also have heard that the original intent was to assist farmers who had a surplus during the period of recovery after the Dustbowl. It seems this would have extended to Grocers as part of that program via the Orange stamps.

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Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #9)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:06 AM

10. I think that is a lame excuse (by your higher ups) The program should evolve with

the freakin times and allow hot foods. I would THINK a hot meal does more for a person's health than only eating lunch meat or sandwiches.

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #10)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:29 AM

12. A local gas station sells hot chicken, etc.

And then they refridgerate some of it, and put it on the counter with a label 'SNAP Approved'....and they have a microwave right there. Its a way for them to sell more chicken, at crappy marked up gas station deli prices. Anyway, there are ways around the rule.

I think there are a few reasons for the rule. For starters, I bet the rule was born out of an era where most people bought staples from a grocery store, and made their own food...and ready made food of any kind was unusual and considered a great luxury.

But even today, hot food costs quite a bit more than cold...and quite frankly, if you are in need of SNAP, its better to stretch your food dollar more, and stay away from restaurants.

....and before you call me a heartless bastard, let me finish. I volunteer at a food bank - they always need volunteers to do repetitive labor intensive tasks associated with sorting and bagging. During the introductory training, they explained to us that the food bank gives classes - precisely because as a society, we seem to have lost the ability to prepare food from basic ingredients...and are dependent on prepared foods. And, quite frankly, if you're getting food at this food bank, its in your own best interest to prepare your own food, even if you have SNAP.

And, another thing we learned. They have a great program, where they issue out a backpack full of food to schoolkids on Friday afternoon...so the kids that rely on school lunches for most of their nutrition can eat over the weekend. The food in these backpacks is deliberatley bland. Why? So their parents/older siblings/extended family don't eat their weekend supply of food. That's terrible - but that's the world we live in. I can certainly understand the utility of buying a $5.99 rotisserrie chicken, and I wouldn't call that a waste of money at all...for for every person who buys something decent like that, there will be at least two others, who abuse hot foods...and literally take food out of their children's mouths, so they can buy a nice dinner for themselves at a restaurant. Call me cynical, but again, that's just the world we live in.

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Response to wercal (Reply #12)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:35 AM

15. The price of a whole raw chicken and cooked one are about the same here

Ok, the cooked chicken might be a bit smaller, but why go home, turn on the oven for a couple of hours, when its already done here.

At least that is how I convinced myself to buy them when I do.

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Response to sammytko (Reply #15)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:43 AM

16. You might have misunderstood me

I used the rotisserie chicken as an example of a responsible purchase of hot food.

Chicken is a good example of my point though. Its costs go up substantially for every level of processing. A whole raw chicken doesn't cost much..but the per lb cost goes up like 50% if you buy it cut up...and another 50% if cut off the bone.

But the store sells mostly cut up and de-boned chicken...because in an era of convienence, some people actually don't know the best way to cut up a chicken...so (even when convienence is no longer affordable to them), people pay extra for cut up chicken.

Thenb my example gets blown out of the water, when the same store sells a whole cooked chicked for 5 bucks...

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Response to wercal (Reply #16)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:45 AM

18. I must have posted this wrong, because it was supposed to be just a general statement, and not

Linked to your statement.

Sorry.

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Response to sammytko (Reply #15)

Mon May 20, 2013, 01:41 PM

27. Because Mean Old Daddy will take the Food Stamp card and go out with his girlfriend to

Outback, and the kids won't get a bite of steak, chicken, or anything else. A blooming onion and a couple of steak dinners, and there goes the benefit for the month.

That's the fear, there.

I do think that the "rules" could be bent to permit the sale of some cooked food sold in supermarket delicatessens, but I don't think spending SNAP money on Pizza Hut or other restaurant/fast foods is a good use of the asset in terms of economy or nutrition.

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Response to wercal (Reply #12)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:43 AM

17. We work closely with pantries and food banks

I often refer families to them when they are either denied SNAP for income or when they have yet to receive their EBT card and need food immediately. All the points you raise for the restriction are valid and echo what I hear from the progam specialists here. One of the aims we have is informing the client about smart food choices, not just health but on how to stretch their benefits and food dollars. I have had many clients who make the mistake of seeing their benefits as replacing their entire food dollar and when they become ineligible for being over income they are not prepared.

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Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #17)

Mon May 20, 2013, 01:46 PM

29. The information/education role is not glamorous, but it is important.

A lot of what looks like wasteful spending is just clueless spending. Those Hungry Man frozen food dinners are an easy solution for some old guy who doesn't know how to cook, but if you teach the guy to make a stew or a chili, he can eat better, eat more, and be well nourished for less money. And if he loses his benefits, he can take a few bucks and stretch it to fill his belly, because he knows how to do that.

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Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #9)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:27 AM

11. The 'nutrition' argument kinda falls on its face

seeing that soda pop, which has no nutritional value beyond empty calories from sugar (usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup) is allowed under the program. As I don't want to start a flamewar, let me say that I only disapprove of SNAP soda purchases on a personal level; I believe they should be allowed for anyone who wants to buy them.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #11)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:34 AM

14. It amazes me that one can buy a Big Gulp with EBT

 

but one cannot buy a cooked chicken.

People on EBT should be able to buy either one.

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Response to blueamy66 (Reply #14)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:45 AM

19. Exactly.

A cooked chicken, some cole slaw and a biscuit make for a tasty dinner. I also don't see what wrong with a liter of root beer and some ice cream for a root beer float dessert.

People seem to have a 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude toward poor people.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #19)

Mon May 20, 2013, 12:08 PM

22. And, unforunately, it wasn't until some people very close to me fell on some hard times

 

and had to use food stamps.

I am sad to have to say that, but it's the truth.

Seriously, why is a huge soda pop okay to buy but a cooked chicken, that could feed possibly 4 people, not okay?

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Response to blueamy66 (Reply #22)

Mon May 20, 2013, 12:23 PM

24. People get too judgemental when it comes to

EBT.

They are just poor, they aren't 5 yrs old where they need to be told what to eat. I would bet if you told people that they couldn't buy hot prepared foods, ice cream or a cake mix with their debit cards the shit would hit the fan.

Nobody tells me what I can or cannot buy. I sure as hell don't think it's my place to tell anyone else what to buy.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #11)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:47 AM

20. You would be surprised how many caseworkers I work with

are in favor of restricting what kind of food can be purchased, much like how WIC works. I favor educating the client which is something we do not do very well IMO.

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Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #20)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:53 AM

21. I like education over restriction too

Your coworkers would do well to just follow the law and STFU.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #21)

Mon May 20, 2013, 01:49 PM

30. And we wonder why kids will only eat shit and diabetes is going through the roof

I have no problem limiting it to healthy foods. I would rather see our invested is decisions that improve the general well being of everyone in our nation. Sadly, we live in an immediate gratification society and I NEED that Big Mac now.

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Response to joeglow3 (Reply #30)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:26 PM

32. That's all well and good

if you live in an area where fresh food is readily available, but millions of people live in 'food deserts' where that Big Mac is more nutritious than the Slim Jims at the corner Kwickie-Stop - and a helluva lot more convenient than paying for a ride on a bus for a long trip to the nearest supermarket. Then there's the elderly, people with disabilities, the homeless - all of whom may not enjoy the same mobility as everyone else.

My personal suggestion would be to expand Meals on Wheels-type programs to those residing within these food deserts and those with limited mobility. If that detracts from some boondoggle weapons program, tough toenails. We could always take the pragmatic approach and let 'em starve, right?

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #32)

Mon May 20, 2013, 04:20 PM

44. So, lets treat the issue and not the symptom

Instead of changing a program to let people eat shit, lets figure out how to get healthy meals closer.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #11)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:27 PM

33. +1 nt

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 09:32 AM

13. Our HEB allows the deli chicken to be bought with EBT card

But I think it's the ones that didn't sell when still hot.

And when you said their oven wasn't working, do you mean, the whole stove?

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Response to sammytko (Reply #13)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:23 PM

31. yeah both the stove part and oven. Right now our new landlord won't switch out his

crappy stove with ours that he made us store in his basement. The stove we have only 1 burner works and the oven took a long time for my wife to get it times right. She put in biscuits to cook and they burned before the 13 min bake time on the container. YES my wife knows how to cook and follow directions. She set the temp and then started taking care of something else she smelled them burning and when she pulled them out the tops completely burn and the undersides not even cooked.

It took our friend time to save up enough money to get his stove fixed.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 12:10 PM

23. But, bailed out bankers can have 5 Martini lunches on the tax payer dime

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 01:29 PM

25. Because the very worst thing in the whole world is that somebody somewhere might

 

be getting something beneficial without sufficient shame and pain. Better that a thousand children starve than a "lazy welfare queen" be enabled in her quest for a Big Mac.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #25)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:36 PM

36. And see, you explained it all in 2 easy sentences.

The ones who decide these rules really don't give a flying fuck about people stretching their little stipend of food stamps. It's about shame and pain. Perfect post, thank you.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 01:32 PM

26. Because you pay for the price of cooking

when you buy it hot, which ultimately decreases the amount of food one can buy.

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Response to demwing (Reply #26)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:29 PM

34. It's my understanding that this is the main rationale.

You get about three times as much for your money buying the ingredients of a meal as opposed to the prepared meal. I believe the rationale for prohibiting use of food stamps for the later was to make the stipend go much further.

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Response to demwing (Reply #26)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:46 PM

38. Yes. This is the real answer.

When you buy hot food, part of the purchase price goes to compensate the person or company who cooked it. This means that you get less food for the same money. Buying uncooked food means that you're only paying for the food itself, so you can afford to buy more of it.

That's the modern rationale behind the laws anyway. It's a mathematically sound argument, even though it's not entirely fair in all circumstances.

Fast food companies have actually been fighting hard for the past few years to get this repealed. There are already a handful of states that permit you to use your food stamps at McDonalds and KFC, and they would LOVE to expand that nationwide. It's better for the corporate bottom line. The fact that a hamburger can be made at home for a fraction of the price isn't their concern. It's all about PROFIT.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 01:41 PM

28. Supemarkets here sseem to have found a way around this

They always put a portion of their hot prepared foods (whole cooked chicken, meatloaf, ribs, etc.) in the refrigerated section so it can be bought with food stamps.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:31 PM

35. Because getting a hot meal makes one look like a welfare

queen in a Cadillac. Poor people shouldn't eat in restaurants, dontcha know, even if it's McDs. It's ridiculous. How are homeless supposed to store and cook their food or guys like your friend who don't have a place to cook? They definitely need something like meal vouchers.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 02:46 PM

39. If I owned a Mickey D's I'd be screaming for it. n/t

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 03:05 PM

40. I would think its because you money goes much further buying

 

Raw food as opposed to cooked. At least my money does.

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Response to rl6214 (Reply #40)

Mon May 20, 2013, 03:35 PM

42. that's it, exactly. /nt

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Response to rl6214 (Reply #40)

Mon May 20, 2013, 05:43 PM

46. But if you don't have anywhere to store or cook it because you are

too poor to afford a roof over your head, then what?

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Response to Cleita (Reply #46)

Mon May 20, 2013, 06:14 PM

49. I think there needs to be a way I differentiate between

 

A whole cooked chicken at the grocery store and going to KFC.

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Response to diabeticman (Original post)

Mon May 20, 2013, 05:52 PM

48. next they will want to go back to food stamps

 

Maybe big neon green currency that requires a manager to approve and delay the line?

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