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Kansas could be kicking 20,000 people off of food stamps starting in October. Able-bodied adults without dependent children will only get three months of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits every three years before they face a requirement that they work 20 hours a week or participate in a job training program for those hours—regardless of whether a job or job training is available.

While Kansas has an unemployment rate lower than the country as a whole, at 5.9 percent in July, that doesn't mean the picture is rosy:

The Kansas Center for Economic Growth, a nonprofit that works on state policy issues, noted that the state’s decision will also affect adults who lose their jobs in the future, no matter how high the unemployment rate climbs. The group noted that the state’s unemployment rate has increased throughout this year, and that one in seven Kansas households struggles against hunger because they can’t meet their basic food needs.
Moves like this to require 20 hours of work a week, regardless of whether work is available, can either leave people without the food they need or force them into taking low-wage work at the expense of searching for the kind of job that provides an actual living wage. While, in theory, people can turn to job training programs to fulfill the requirement, job training programs aren't always available; a state saying "do job training" does not mean it's going to provide funding for job training programs.

When you cut off government assistance without providing viable alternatives, people don't stop needing to eat:

Topeka Councilman Chad Manspeaker (D), a leader of the state's progressive movement, told HuffPost that the policy shift will force more adults in the state to turn to soup kitchens and food pantries in order to eat. He said this will put an additional strain on nonprofits, along with shifting the expense to local governments, which fund many of the emergency food programs.

"We have not shifted the long-term problem," Manspeaker said. "There aren't jobs out there, and we don't solve it by starving them."

Kansas is just doing a part of what many Republicans in the House would like to do. It's all part and parcel of a Republican agenda that seizes on any way to stigmatize unemployment in a high-unemployment economy and make people too desperate to fight for crappy jobs to be better.

Tell Congress: Oppose all food stamp cuts.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Kansas (6+ / 0-)

    Bastion of Neo Conservatism.

    Same Circus, same monkeys.  Someone needs to change the Ringmaster.

    "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result." - Winston Churchill

    by Dingodude on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:35:52 AM PDT

  •  And In A Farm State, No Less (9+ / 0-)

    You'd think that harming one of the state's biggest businesses would make them think twice about this.

    But hating the poor while boot-licking the rich trumps all in the mind of the reactionary---because they aren't smart enough to see how it hurts them. In fact, because THEY don't get food stamps, fine.

    They cannot reason or use rational thinking. To do so would end their party.

    NEW SINGLE! http://johnnyangelwendell.bandcamp.com/

    by Johnny Wendell on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:49:57 AM PDT

  •  this is just punative (9+ / 0-)

    as it costs the state nothing to provide these benefits, and they get paid to administer them.

    nice people

  •  perhaps they should also (15+ / 0-)

    pass a law requiring those who receive price supports and farm subsidies to do some constructive work that would benefit the community

    just kidding

  •  As somebody who no longer lives in Kansas (0+ / 0-)

    this doesn't bother me that much - why micromanage what the dumbass states do?

    After all, I'm sure Baby Jesus will be happy to help out as needed.  

    •  Now the Cristian Right can feed the hungry- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tikkun

      so the poor and hungry will become less dependent on the big bad government- yet more dependent on the churches. Christian Charity my ass- just another power grab by the American Taliban (Christians). Of course they are subsidized by taxpayers through their tax exempt status. It's not some far fetched conspiracy theory- it's real- stories like this from Kansas is just the start.

      The price of anything is the amount of life we are willing to exchange for it.

      by theslinger on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:55:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. (0+ / 0-)

        This has been the stated goal of some so-called "Christian" GOP Congressmen in the past. I remember when cuts to the federal food stamps was being debated, one GOP Congressman said something along the lines of:

        "I don't believe the government should be in the business of helping the needy, that's what the church is for."

        As a Christian myself, I think not only do people like this give Christians a bad name, they give America in general a bad name. Today's GOP could give a rat's ass about the tired, poor, and huddled masses. After all, poor people can't bankroll a reelection campaign.

        Filibuster? I hardly know her!

        by grich01 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:56:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One observation, typically unpopular (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, Lucy2009, HappyinNM
    Moves like this to require 20 hours of work a week, regardless of whether work is available, can either leave people without the food they need or force them into taking low-wage work at the expense of searching for the kind of job that provides an actual living wage.
    I think it is a problem, and not just of optics, to say that some jobs are so crummy that people should receive a public subsidy while so they can devote themselves full-time, as opposed to merely 20 hours a week, to seeking better jobs.  Especially when that "seeking" is literally or figuratively pounding the pavement, since training would also satisfy the requirement.  I recognize that those crappy jobs are indeed crappy, but the same government that's defined those jobs as acceptable can't reliably be expected to support people who don't see them as acceptable.  

    As usual, the real solution is for government to set higher floors, so that it's not a societal imperative for some people to suffer in those jobs while others suffer to get away from them.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:18:02 PM PDT

    •  I can see the Interstate Ramp signs now. "Will (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HappyinNM, rhonan

      work for food," will be a every exit through Kansas. Children lined up with their parents will be a common sight.

      •  It's only for people without children. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drmah, MargaretPOA, tikkun
        Able-bodied adults without dependent children will only get three months of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits every three years before they face a requirement that they work 20 hours a week or participate in a job training program for those hours
        We don't count. I applied for HEAP and was rejected because I don't have children. We really don't count as much.

        "Growing your own food is like growing your own money" Ron Finley guerilla gardener extraordinaire. http://ronfinley.com/

        by pitbullgirl65 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:32:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The requirements don't seem so unreasonable. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy2009

    Please pretend that I don't give a shit.

    by Jim Riggs on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:24:10 PM PDT

    •  Really? What if there aren't any jobs? (8+ / 0-)

      Especially for older people. I got laid off in 2009 when I was 48 and it took me 29 months to find a job. During that time, I also applied for low wage jobs but was turned down over and over. In one case, I was interviewed and hired and I got all the way up to the part at which they wanted me to sign a document agreeing to work a MAXIMUM of 19 hours a week. Best case scenario, after my bills, (just the lights, basic phone, rent, water), I would have been left with five bucks a week for food, gas, catfood, essentially everything that wasn't rent, lights phone and water. The job was advertized at 30 hours a week, the interviewer said 24 to 26 but by the time I got to the HR department, it was 19 or less. I would have had five bucks for everything and under this law, I would have also been ineligible for food stamps if I had lived in Kansas. I think you and I have a different definition of "unreasonable". This will lead to Wal mart and McDonalds workers off food stamps and in the soup line. REAL reasonable, eh?

      "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

      by MargaretPOA on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:38:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Washington state, KS likely same.. age 50+ exempt. (0+ / 0-)

        WAC 388-444-0030 Do I have to work to be eligible for Basic Food benefits if I am an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD)?

        1.    An able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) is a person who:

        a.    Is physically and mentally able to work;

        b.    Is age eighteen through forty-nine; and

        c.    Has no child in the household.

         3.    Nonexempt ABAWDs who fail to participate may continue to receive food assistance until September 30, 2013.

         4.    Beginning October 1, 2013, an ABAWD is not eligible to receive food assistance for more than three full months in a thirty-six month period, except as provided in WAC 388-444-0035, unless that person:

        a.    Is exempt from ABAWD requirements under WAC 388-444-0035;

        b.    Works at least twenty hours a week averaged monthly;

        c.    Participates in on the job training (OJT), which may include paid work and classroom training time, for at least twenty hours a week;

        d.    Participates in an unpaid work program as provided in WAC 388-444-0040; or

        e.    Participates in and meets the requirements of one of the following work programs:

        Plus exemptions for pregnancy or adults caring for another incapcitated adult in the HHG.
                                           

        •  this is a little different (0+ / 0-)

          as it provides an alternative to finding a 20 hour a week job...you can fulfill the requirements by doing some volunteer work while you look for employment.
          There are some federal housing programs that also have this type of requirement, if you are not elderly, disabled or a custodial parent, you have to work a few volunteer hours.

          This is really so pointless though, most people who receive SNAP benefits do so because they are elderly, disabled or parents of young children.  It seems that they are going out of their way to punish a very small population of very poor people, and it seems doubtful that the extra effort will result in any kind of savings anyway.

        •  Is this another Kobach-inspired ALEC initiative? (0+ / 0-)

          This smells of Koch and Kris Kobach.

  •  Food stamps (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, tikkun

    Starve the old and the poor to finance war on Syria? Such brilliant men.
    I do not mind, however, that they are cutting a benefit Walmart relies on just when their employees are rising against them.
    I think we must have been taken over by the men who used to run the soviet union, and soon we will see gulags in the far north. We will fool them, since the ice is melting and soon the far North will become prime property, like when the Indians found oil on their desert land.

  •  This doesn't seem that outlandish to me..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, bamadad

    There may be more to this story than I know, but with what I've read so far, this doesn't seem like a bad idea.

    The people this will effect are able bodied adults without children to look after. Working at Subway might suck, and not be rewarding in most ways, but there is something to be said for getting out of bed every day, getting dressed, and being part of a group that produces something, and as a result making a few bucks for your labors. I should think if work at a Subway, or similar type joint, if you want to work less than 40 hrs/wk that's a real possibility, which leaves you time to look for a better job.

    I think there is GREAT value in work for one's physical and emotional well being. If you live in an area of the country that has high unemployment and is devoid of good jobs, it's not exactly like you are going to be looking for a job full-time and working 20-30 hrs/wk at Subway is going to detract from getting a better job.

    imho...

    Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

    by Lucy2009 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:38:37 PM PDT

    •  Farm hands who work in seasonal jobs tend to (4+ / 0-)

      work for cash to avoid paying taxes.  Farmers aren't going to give 20 hours of work to those seeking Welfare because they would have to pay Workers Comp and other such benefits.  Farm Workers and Farm employers are an underground market. Kansas won't want to give this Farm Business plan up.

    •  Again, what if there is no work? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tikkun, Lucy2009, JamieG from Md

      The policy contains no exceptions for people who are trying and can't find work, nor does it provide relief for people who live in areas where there just isn't any work to be had. What happens then? Does the Kansas government step in and partner with businesses to "allow" these starving citizens to work for free? Or maybe they should work for big agricultural companies. Why don't we just call that what it is? I mean, it all sounds well and good until you experience just how much time it takes to be long term unemployed. Between the hoops various agencies set up for you to jump through and making every effort to find gainful employment, there is no time for the life of ease on public assistance that you are clearly imagining. Work at Subway, you say? Ever tried to get a job in fast food in your 40s or 50s with no food service experience? I have. "Flipping burgers" is a euphemism for a job anyone can do. A stereotype. The idea that anybody in the country can walk into any fast food franchise and get a job is  absurd.

      "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

      by MargaretPOA on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:16:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You make some good points, MPOA.... (0+ / 0-)

        fyi---I don't imagine the long term unemployed are living a "life of ease"!   My daughter-in-law's mother is a long term unemployed person, who last month had to move from Denver to Los Angeles to live with ME because she had nowhere else to go!!  She's not been looking at fast food joints, so I didn't realize the potential difficulties of doing so!!  I hope that's not true here in LA, because she's not having any luck looking for office work, and I've been assuming that worse case scenario, she'll go flip burgers in the next couple of weeks. Live and learn!

        I've also been assuming that until she is able to find something that she could always apply for food stamps if her small savings runs out.

        So I'm still a bit on the fence, but leaning towards your way of thinking!     :)

        Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

        by Lucy2009 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 01:01:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm guessing... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but based on lots of experience being unemployed over the years, and on profiles of long term unemployed in many settings since the economic implosion/stagnation of the past five years, the most affected will be older/elderly workers and folks with emotional/psychological issues that are debilitating, and other "invisibles" of the economy.

  •  Most Food Stamp Recipients Are White Children (4+ / 0-)

    Kristian Kansas where Kochroaches run the show ----

    Don't Tax the Rich.
    Don't Feed the Poor.
    Give Corporations  
    More & More.

  •  at least in Leavenworth they're serving food (5+ / 0-)

    outside it's intelligently designed austerity

  •  Must feel good to kick people that are down... (0+ / 0-)

    Observances are such a sorry bunch of fuckers...feeling tough for kicking people that are down...

  •  I don't even think it's legal. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tikkun, eztempo
    The federal government pays 100 percent of SNAP/Food Stamp program benefits. Federal and State governments share administrative costs (with the federal government contributing nearly 50 percent).
    Since the federal government funds the entire program, states are to use federal laws. States can play with TANF and Medicaid, but I don't think they can play with SNAP. At least that was the case when I was an eligibility worker.
  •  America is not suffering from lack of community. (0+ / 0-)

    America is suffering from state lawmakers who don't promote community.

    If I had one wish, Republican men would have uteruses.

    by Desert Rose on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:56:54 PM PDT

  •  Such a Christian state. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo
  •  SNAP is not welfare (4+ / 0-)

    "Food stamps" may be packaged with other benefits, as some counties require the initial application be a complete one that determines eligibility for number of programs. But SNAP is determined independently of the others.  It is intended to address a specific problem - hunger - & there should be no requirements for receiving the benefits other than the applicant's income & resources. Being "able-bodied" has nothing to do with it.   When I worked as a food stamp interviewer, I approved benefits for a shorter period of time where I felt the applicant's income could suddenly change - upward or downward. Every three or four months they had to update their financial information. People on fixed incomes unlikely to change received longer approvals, some up to a full year. Treating SNAP as welfare-to-work is bullsh*t.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:10:46 PM PDT

  •  Rethugs solving another non-existent problem? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamieG from Md

    I thought, "at less than 20,000 individuals, it really isn't affecting that many people at least..." until I looked it up and found that that's in a state of only 2,885,905 people.  There were 87,423 unemployed in July.  That means that, in addition to the indignity of being unemployed, up to 1/4 of those out of work in Kansas are now going to be spending a good portion of their time trying to find a way to feed themselves with some kind of nutritional benefit.  Considering that "able bodied, no dependent children, adults" likely means mostly the elderly, or at least older workers (there's only so many Wal*Mart greeter jobs to go around) -- most assuredly NOT the strapping slacker, lazing around scarfing Cheetos and drinking beer of the fevered Teahadist imagination -- well:

    Brownback and his Koch-engorged legislature are real bastards.

  •  Unreal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, grich01, JamieG from Md

    The poor are not our enemies; so why does our government continue to treat them as such? I was born into a poor family and the majority of my family members are poor. All of them are hard workers and good citizens. However layoffs happen...companies close...health ailments strike us.

    You can tell the true character of a country by how they treat its poor...

    •  We need more enemies *snark* (0+ / 0-)

      to justify all the heavy-duty military hardware in every police department. If the peasants aren't revolting, what are they going to use it on? /very nasty snark

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:22:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  YEAH! (0+ / 0-)

    SUCK IT, POOR PEOPLE! Time to stop freeloading on your Ramen Noodles and your orange juice ya moochers!

    - The current GOP mentality

    Filibuster? I hardly know her!

    by grich01 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 02:07:17 AM PDT

  •  Meh (0+ / 0-)

    This is what they want.  I am finally tired of fighting for people who don't seem to want to fight for themselves.  

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