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American or people living in the US, how do you eat healthy on food stamps?

(17 Posts)
hellokittymania Fri 19-May-17 21:26:26

You can buy 50 cans of Coke cheaper than you can buy vegetables and meat. If you have a family of five and you are relying on food stamps how can you eat healthy?

I've looked at a lot of dollar tree hauls, but you can't really find many healthy options at the dollar tree either. It's just junk food really.

And out of curiosity, can you use your food stamps if you shop online? If you buy groceries through shipt? Etc

steff13 Fri 19-May-17 21:32:56

Well, food assistance is meant to supplement your food budget, not be your entire food budget. Coke is not cheaper than vegetables, it may be cheaper than some meats. People on food assistance can use coupons and bargain shop and go to Aldi just like anyone else.

You can't use your did assistance card to shop online, you have to enter a PIN to use it.

You questions are somewhat vague. Your food assistance allotment is based on your income and family size.

hellokittymania Fri 19-May-17 21:37:37

Steff A lot of friends of mine are on SS I and disabled and some live in the country, so a taxi ride to Aldie can be a lot of money sometimes. Even more so than the groceries.

hellokittymania Fri 19-May-17 21:38:53

And I really don't understand why you can't buy toiletries with food stamps either. That's pretty ridiculous.

Dogivemeabreak Fri 19-May-17 21:39:48

Do you live in the States?

SuperBeagle Fri 19-May-17 21:40:14

Food stamps aren't supposed to be relied on. They're supposed to be a supplement to your income. It's no different from benefits in the UK etc. They aren't supposed to be solely depended on, but are supposed to make up the gap between what you're earning and the cost of living...

hellokittymania Fri 19-May-17 21:42:05

I grew up in the states, yes.

steff13 Fri 19-May-17 21:44:30

It's unfortunate that people have to rely on taxis to get around sometimes.

You can't buy toiletries on food assistance because the food assistance program is intended to buy food. It's not a random program to help with whatever you need, it's specifically geared to assist people in buying food. There are other types of assistance available that are more flexible.

hellokittymania Fri 19-May-17 21:45:48

If you receive benefits though in the UK, it doesn't really matter what you spend them on. And since they are paid into your bank account, you can use them for shopping online. At least I am guessing you can. Whereas in the US If you are unable to work and have to rely on SS I and food stamps, and have trouble getting to a supermarket, you can't do this.

A friend of mine was saying that food stamps should also cover toiletries, diapers, washing up liquid, etc., things that people really do need. You can buy junk food with food stamps, but not soap.

steff13 Fri 19-May-17 21:46:55

Food assistance is actually now called SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (emphasis added).

hellokittymania Fri 19-May-17 21:49:12

Steff, I grew up in very rural area and the nearest supermarket was 20 miles away. If you can't drive, that's pretty pretty difficult. Public transportation in the US is much harder to find than in the UK.

steff13 Fri 19-May-17 21:49:28

Junk food is food. Food assistance is only for food. If your friend lives in the country, perhaps you should inform her she can buy fruit and vegetable seeds with her food assistance. She could grow a garden, if she wants.

Why did she move out to the country if she isn't able to drive or have access to lifts?

steff13 Fri 19-May-17 21:52:29

There are many rural areas in the US, yes. If disabled people have trouble living rurally, they could perhaps look into local public housing programs to allow them to move somewhere more centrally located.

noeffingidea Fri 19-May-17 21:52:55

There's quite a few blogs on this subject, OP. Google healthy eating on SNAP.
Food deserts seem to be a problem in the USA, more so than in the UK really.

00100001 Fri 19-May-17 21:53:43

I fail to see why food stamps should be used for toiletries.

If you make an exception for toiletries, why not make an exception for.... Batteries or books or booze or clothes or DVD or mobile phones?

Anyone can argue that they "need" something.

steff13 Fri 19-May-17 21:57:32

SNAP is funded by the US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services. That's all it's meant to cover, food. There are other types of assistance available for rent, utilities, and even general cash assistance.

steff13 Fri 19-May-17 22:36:21

So, I spend five days a week thinking about public assistance - 60 hours I worked this week. So I'm probably not going to revisit this thread, since I'm not keen on discussing it in my time off, too. Just a couple of points:
- It's clear you don't agree with how SNAP is administered. I get that. I'm just trying to explain why it's that way.
- Most public assistance programs in the US are intended to support children, including SNAP. The vast majority of SNAP recipients are children. Giving people a benefits card rather than cash is a strategic decision to try to ensure children receive food.
- If it were up to me, SNAP would be set up like WIC, and you'd only be able to buy certain healthy foods, rather than just giving someone a dollar amount.
- The only way the program would ever change is for people to demand is changed in Washington. So I'll tell you what I tell people every week of my life - if you don't like it, write your congressman.

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