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View Diary: House ready to make draconian cuts to food stamps in Farm Bill (116 comments)

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  •  HappyinNM, thanks. I'll post the info on the 'car (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM

    value' below.

    Cars

    In some cases, cars may be considered countable resources, but there are plenty of exemptions.

    Vehicles are not countable resources if they are "used for income-producing purposes, needed for long-distance travel for work (other than daily commute), used as the home, needed to transport a physically disabled household member, needed to carry most of the household's fuel or water, or if the household has little equity in the vehicle (because of money owed, it would bring no more than $1,500 if sold), according to the USDA.

    Families are allowed to have one vehicle for each adult in the house and for each driver under 18 who uses a vehicle to get to school, work or a job training program.

    But when these vehicles exceed $4,650 in value, the excess is considered a countable resource.

    Like almost all of our safety net, I suppose they've been chiseling away at this benefit, too. ;-)

    Actually, in my line of work, I also dealt with a number of folks who would have qualified for SNAP and other public assistance programs, except that they had just a little too much money in the bank (and often it was from a small inheritance).

    IOW, they had no income but a tiny social security check that met the 'income test,' but had too much in cash assets.  Often it was by just a very few hundred, or several thousand dollars.

    I'm not saying that it was not within the SNAP program regulations to not process them for Food Stamp assistance, just that I think that it is ridiculous to set the 'cash asset' requirement that low.

    The man that I mentioned who receives LIHEAP receives just several dollars too much per month (his ONLY income is Social Security) to qualify for Food Stamps, at today's standard.  And because he inherited several thousand dollars when his Mother died, he wouldn't have met the cash asset test, either.

    Which is one reason that the excuse offered by both Dems and Repubs, makes no sense in regard to closing the 'loopholes' that allow folks to qualify.

    Qualifying for LIHEAP could not possibly qualify an individual for SNAP, since there is no asset test for LIHEAP [and there is for SNAP].

    Hope that clarifies what I was trying to communicate.

    Mollie

    "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


    hiddennplainsight

    by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:36:46 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  When the only income is "unearned" like (0+ / 0-)

      Social Security, there are no allowable deductions as there are with earned income. LIHEAP is a totally different program. The amount given to the states is a finite number. When a state runs out of that fund for the year, that's it. SNAP is an entitlement program, meaning that if a person qualifies, they receive benefits. The reason resources are considered (particularly liquid ones) is obvious. While we would all like to have our own personal safety net, the government thinks we ought to spend down our own money before asking for assistance. Personally, I don't think that's unreasonable. I once had a hearing with a man who had just purchase a brandy new truck. He figured he could afford it because he didn't have to pay for food for himself and his family. He couldn't understand why his truck made him ineligible for food stamps. Everyone in that room wanted so badly to tell him that selling the truck was the easy remedy. From what you quoted, it seems that the regulations for vehicles has changed once again.

      •  Well, not sure what your reference to 'unearned' (0+ / 0-)

        income refers to.  But yes, I understand the LIHEAP program is a grant program.  You may recall, it was 'cut' during one of the earlier 'faux' fiscal crisis.

        My only point was that it is not a 'means tested' program.  It is based upon an applicant's income, but is not 'asset tested.'  Or at least, that is what I've been told.

        BTW, I'm certainly not for having no asset test at all. Simply meant to say that the 1989 test of $2,000/Individual and $3,000/Couple seem ridiculously low for today.

        Some time ago had to research the safety nets in other OECD countries.

        Our social insurance programs are pathetic in comparison.

        The state pension program in many countries have replacement rates of up to 70 and 80 percent.

        According to Ms Janice Gregory (in 2010), she was the President of NASI at that time:

        Today's (this was in 2010) Social Security 'replacement rate' is 39% at age 65, AFTER paying one's Medicare Premium.

        And, that by 2030, the Social Security 'replacement rate' will be only 32%.

        And that does not even count the taxing of Social Security benefits (which may not apply to all Social Security beneficiaries--I'm not sure).

        We are grateful to both have good retirements (both defined benefit plans and 401Ks)--especially if they don't manage to destroy Social Security and Medicare, before we're old enough to apply.

        Because of all the 'tinkering' (LOL!) with Social Security, I plan to file for Early Retirement Benefits, even though I won't need the money to live on (at that point).

        Anyway, thanks for the interesting conversation.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


        hiddennplainsight

        by musiccitymollie on Thu May 16, 2013 at 01:08:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I love it when progressives sound just like (0+ / 0-)

        conservatives.  It just goes to show you how incredibly effective the GOP propaganda machine is that their reach extends into the deepest recesses of left-wing thinking.  

        People aren't entitled to reliable transportation!  They should be forced to purchase cheap clunkers that will sop up every spare dollar in expensive repair after expensive repair.  Ask me how well that works out in the long run, when you have a $5,000 budget for a used car and end up having to replace the engine in two years, and this after throwing money at a string of incidental repairs.  It would have been far more prudent to finance a newer, more reliable mode of transportation, but with people like you lining up to cheer on GOP policies that wage war on the financially disadvantaged, people like me will never be able to make the prudent decision.  

        Bless.  You.

        Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. -George Carlin

        -7.88, -7.64

        by socindemsclothing on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:15:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you, sidc! You've expressed the point that (0+ / 0-)

          I was trying to make, better than I did.

          It does not make any sense at all, to impose as you suggest, that lower income folks be consigned to driving 'clunkers.'  From a practical standpoint, they will continue to have a hard time 'getting ahead,' or even treading water, if they have such old and unreliable (cheap!) transportation that they are constantly saddled with unaffordable car repair bills!

          I'd have to say that if an individual drove a new Mercedes, they should probably be expected to 'spend down' to a more 'average' vehicle.  But the idea that an individual can't have a newer and very decent vehicle is ridiculous, IMO.

          This rule or regulation reminds me of how some conservatives would severely restrict the actual 'foods' that can be purchased by Food Stamps.  And I'm not talking about restrictions such as hard liquor, or something, either.

          Some bills would outlaw any 'sweets,' etc.  So, I'd have to ask, "Does that mean that the 5-year-old of a very poor person should not be allowed to have a Betty Crocker cake on their birthday?"

          I mean, c'mon.  How heartless and authoritarian can you get?

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Mon May 20, 2013 at 12:34:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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