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.