Monday, March 31, 2008

West Virginia - One out of every Six is on Food Stamps

I am a former disability claims examiner for social security disability and SSI disability claims.

However, several years before I began working as a disability examiner, I was a food stamp caseworker. So, the following story (linked at the bottom of this post), was of particular interest to me.

For individuals living in the state of West Virginia, one out of every six is on food stamp assistance. Perhaps this is not so remarkable as it would seem to be (I say that because I haven't seen statistics on state-by-state participation); but it certainly seems like an overwhelming statistic.

The point of the article, however, is not just to point out this one fact, but to illustrate the fact that, for some of the poorest members of our society, even being on food stamp assistance doesn't provide for healthy nutrition. As practically all American shoppers are aware, going to the grocery store is no cheap proposition. And for most shoppers, filling the cart with healthy vegetables and fruits, in addition to quality lean meat is a budget strecher or, worse, a tradeoff between other considerations.

As the article points out, the cost of food is rising faster than the federal government makes adjustments to food stamp benefits. The outcome of this is that the food stamps program will be less likely to achieve its legislated goal. What is that goal? To ensure that poor Americans can receive supplemental assistance that will allow them to enjoy healthy nutrition.

This is something, of course, that most citizens do not understand about the program. Food stamps is not for the purpose of feeding individuals or families. The program's intended purpose is to supplement a family's budget so they can be assured of receiving proper nutrition. However, judging by the numbers, that goal will be less likely to be achieved.

One in 6 West Virginians is on food stamps

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