When You See West Virginia, Their New SNAP Policy Makes Sense
SNAP is one of the many great policy successes coming from the Great Society of LBJ:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) programs offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. FNS also works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity.
SNAP in West Virginia
WCHSTV in Charleston, West Virginia reports that starting this January, people receiving SNAP benefits in nine West Virginia counties will be required to participate in a work or educational activity for a monthly average of 20 hours per week. Recipients who don’t meet the requirements will lose their SNAP benefits.
If the state is going to do this in nine counties, I don’t know why it wouldn’t be the case in all 55 counties. Afterall, you’d be surprised at who SNAP users are. Forget the stereotypes, go down to your local supermarket and stand by the checkout for an hour. You’ll see SNAP is a lot of grandmothers, single moms, and workers. You’ll see people in uniforms ranging from Walmart and Target, to Wendy’s, McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, and even the school system. The saddest uniform you’ll see is a military uniform.
Will the state provide transportation for those who need it? What about clothing since that is another job related expense? Everyone wants to see everybody working, but there are hardships that need to be addressed with poor people that come with having a job that they obviously can’t cover themselves.
Are mothers who are staying home to raise their children employed? Or are they heads of households that need to meet this requirement? If we can recognize paid child-care workers as being employed then shouldn’t the unpaid mother raising her children be considered employed as she is providing a vital service not only for her husband and children but for society?