Food Stamps

SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is known in New Jersey as the Food Stamp Program.  Food Stamps were always meant to be a safety net to those who’s income isn’t quite enough to pay for this necessary and vital expenditure.   However, some of the richest counties in this country are showing marked increases in applications for this benefit.

Just today I read about Morris County, NJ (where I grew up) and it’s increase in Food Stamp or SNAP recipients.  Morris County was the 8th. richest county in 2009 with a median household income of $96,000.  By 2012 with $91,000 as the median household income, it had dropped to 10th.  You might not think that’s much of a drop, but it was enough to triple the amount of food stamp recipients.  A worker at the Dept. of Human Services Office of Temporary Assistance said that their caseloads have increased 240% since the recession began and in all the years she has worked there (27) this is the worst she has ever seen it.

A substantial number of those who receive SNAP assistance never thought they would have to even think about putting themselves in that position. “It’s not that I want to take government help, I simply have no choice,”  is said over and over as the lines and the rolls for these and other government benefits swell.   But even now, as unemployment rises due to the unwavering recession, more people in rich counties are asking for this help.

But because I am a saver, a planner, and a believer in always living below your means, I think maybe a substantial number of these “rich” people put themselves in that position.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against my tax dollars being used to supplement someone’s need for food or any assistance for that matter.  But it’s annoying to  me that some of these people never used common sense with their finances before this whole recession hit. 

Common sense with your finances is imperative, for everyone ~ all the time, and not just in times of crisis.  If the information in this article is to be believed,  the  breadwinner in this family,  had a 6 figure income ($130,000), and 20 years at a major company before losing his job.  And that makes me think, if you lived under  your means for those twenty years, could you have saved enough to make it through this financial fiasco we refer to as a recession?   Even if you didn’t, this particular  family in the article stopped paying their mortgage in 2009 (that would have been approximately one year after losing his job) and he “blew through” his 401K.  Where’s the planning in that? 

I don’t begrudge the man the $250 dollars a month New Jersey will give him because he needs the assistance, but I do believe this family needs financial planning help.  There are hundreds of ways to cut your  expenses and stretch your dollars, but believe me, if you never had to do it, it’s  harder than if it becomes a way of life.  I sure hope this family started planning a little better now that he’s gotten himself and his family down to the poverty line because getting back to that 6 figure income may never materialize.

All opinions in this post are 100% mine and have not been influenced by anyone.


10 thoughts on “Food Stamps”

  1. I think that in the case that you’re talking about, it IS poor planning. I live in Ohio, where almost everyone is on some type of assistance. There’s just not enough jobs to go around, and a lot of the plants here have been laying off their workers and their temps a LOT. David was laid off for over a year last year, and has usually one lay off a year for 3 or 4 months. Those times SUCK. He doesn’t make much, either, so when he’s not working, it makes it even more difficult.

  2. I learned when I was young, by my dad, to pay your bills, live on what you can afford and try to have some on the side just in case. I still do this even on a one income.. well try to, but it’s hard at time when you don’t have someone same discipline at times. It really doesn’t matter how much money you have, you should try to have a back up just in case.

  3. I’ve been on my own and budgeting for only a short 7.5 years. We’re putting money back for our 401K and IRA, but we don’t have much of an emergency fund. I would like to think that if we were making that much money, we’d be able to put some back, but it’s tricky because the money always seems to find somewhere to go! I still think ahead and just put off a kitchen remodel in order to hold onto some savings. We also have a college fund set up. So I guess we don’t live paycheck to paycheck but we sure find a way to spend more than we need to. It’s a constant work in progress! It’s sad that these people, who live among the richest in the nation, couldn’t plan better.

  4. I find that in America, when you make more money, you expend more money. I don’t mean you spend more, but that your expenses match your income bracket. It is sad, really. It is just as sad as the amount of homeless people we have in this country vs. the number of vacant homes we have, and the number of newly built homes going up at any given time, with an inverted banking system and a foul housing industry. Capitalism is an institutionalized normalcy in America, so that the people who live in the 9 or 10th richest county in America believe it to be their right to misuse their income. With such inalienable right also comes the audacity to believe it will never end. But it can, and in some cases, it will. Resource are exhaustible, and industry’s will fail, mortgages will crash, and banking and housing systems will collapse. Again. Entitlement keeps a large number of Americans from planning, it’s not just that they don’t understand – they can’t understand.

  5. There are times when it is needed and there are times when you don’t. I partially agree with the poor planning aspect, but some live paycheck to paycheck and cannot break past that no matter what. I have not had to use food stamps, but I have had to use other sorts of state financial assistant *short term*. I am a believer that if you need the assistance – great. Go ahead and use it while you figure out a long term plan to get yourself off said assistance and that is what we have done in times of *need*. (Keyword being need which in my definition is there is no other choice.)

  6. I don’t think finances are “common sense”. It’s something you have to be taught, and when you’re growing up in poverty, mom is too worried about working 2-3 jobs to support you to teach you about finances. I think unless you’ve been there you couldn’t possibly understand.

  7. I agree about being taught. Children learn what they live and see, unless they are taught otherwise. I got a little bit of both growing up, we always had what we needed but we were tight on money. My mom worked hard to teach us the value of a dollar, what priorities came first and how to make it stretch. Some people are never taught that.

  8. When I was working as a nurse I saved and planned for the future, now that I am disabled my dollars go quicker for less and thats not even to mention the fact that my social security is no where near what I was making! I have had to use SNAP and it amazes me how some here in OH can get the help but others that REALLY need it can not.

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