Food stamp money finally comes through

A class-action suit against New York City for refusing to provide food stamps to nearly 9,500 households was settled back in 2006, but the reimbursements are just going out now:

The payback does not quite amount to winning the lottery — the 18 largest reimbursements just top $5,000, and most average far less. And all of the credits can be used only for food.
Still, to many who had given up on or forgotten what they were owed, the money in their accounts, some of which arrived before any notice from the government to explain it, has been a rare moment of bounty at an otherwise dismal economic moment.
Monica Ryan learned of her good fortune when she went to her corner bodega in northern Manhattan to buy bread and milk. She was picking up just the necessities because she was conscious of having less than $5 in her account. But when the clerk swiped her card, it appeared that she had hundreds left.

Yeah, it’s awful that it took this long for the money to come through. But at least it’s some good news for a Thanksgiving when too many people are struggling.
Thanks to Susan for the link.

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8 Comments

  1. Rachel_Setzer
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I used food stamps when I was in college and barely made enough money to pay rent (and credit card bills I’d racked up before I found out I was eligible to receive food stamps). It was tough… a lot of people in message board communities which will go unnamed gave me a lot of crap for using “their tax money” to buy soda and junk food. Why couldn’t my parents just by my food and pay my rent? Why didn’t I just get a job and drop out of college? Why was I being so irresponsible by trying to further my education when clearly I couldn’t afford it?
    What rot. I remember the first time I used them too. I was humiliated. I actually believed all that stuff that the right wing of this country has been pushing since the 80s… that I was lazy… that if I just worked a little harder than going to school full time, working weekends, and having a workstudy job on campus, I wouldn’t have to do it. But the truth is, I managed to get through college while being able to maintain my health (mostly, I didn’t have health care, so I didn’t know I had hypothyroidism until this year) and my sanity. I also had the opportunity to help my friends out when they were hungry from working two jobs and going to school full time. So when I look back, I’m actually really glad that I went on food stamps.
    People living in poverty have it hard enough, they should at least be able to eat good food rather than being forced to scrape together a couple bucks for a burger.

  2. ThinkingClearly
    Posted November 27, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    It is nonsense that you attempt to perpetuate the “liberals are irresponsible” meme by trying to say that only “right-wing” people believe you should fend for yourself.
    If someone is in dire straits I want them helped and provided for probably even better than we help them now. But your concept of going on food stamps as a way to supplement your college experience is just horrible. Somewhere while you were sharing your ill-gotten food with others there were millions of hard-working people going without something because of the additional taxes taken from their pay.
    Food stamps should be for an emergency situation in which we are helping people out who are just in a temporary emergency problem. The notion that these people in this lawsuit are STILL receiving food stamps almost THREE YEARS later only demonstrates the problem.
    Just guessing on the time period it sounds like Rachel Setzer was in college taking food stamps at the same time I was. I was working three jobs and going to school full-time to support myself. It was hard but that is how it is supposed to be. It’s nice to know that some of that money that was taken out of my pay went to Rachel so she could take it easy and share her food.

  3. Mina
    Posted November 27, 2008 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    “I used food stamps when I was in college and barely made enough money to pay rent (and credit card bills I’d racked up before I found out I was eligible to receive food stamps). It was tough… a lot of people in message board communities which will go unnamed gave me a lot of crap for using ‘their tax money’ to buy soda and junk food.”
    What a bunch of jerks! Also, even if you did spend some of the money on soda and junk food, so what? That reminds me of when some people call novels a waste of time and tell people to read nothing but textbooks and self-help books instead.
    “People living in poverty have it hard enough, they should at least be able to eat good food rather than being forced to scrape together a couple bucks for a burger.”
    Exactly! They (and we – it could happen to any of us!) should also at least be able to eat tasty food (including soda and junk food – sure drinking and eating too much of those isn’t good for any of us, but many peope stay healthy while drinking and eating those on occasion) and enjoy the world with the sense of taste too rather than treating food as nothing but fuel.

  4. captain_shev
    Posted November 27, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow ThinkingClearly, and you reckon that’s *not* a rightwing view? The only way that some students can afford to go to college is by getting help from the state. Limiting it to those who have the capacity to pay for themselves perpetuates the class system that I bet you’d swear America doesn’t have. You say that people in ‘dire straits’ should be helped, and I agree – that means people who are working to put themselves through education, or those working two jobs to pay for their kids and their healthcare, or those who cannot get a job for health reasons, but are dubbed ‘lazy’ or those who have been so failed by the ‘education system’ that they are qualified for little that is legal, but will be condemned to a life behind bars (at the tax-payers’ great expense, I might add).
    Sniffing at someone who used state help during their college ‘experience’ speaks of a real lack of empathy for others’ experiences, and a lack of understanding of how environment shapes experience.
    Did you even read the article? Oe woman gets by on £107 a month. And almost all of those with the least are sharing it. And you begrudge the few pennies that came out of your wages (along with proportionally quite a lot more for arms, prisons and the rest), when you state that you didn’t need the food stamps in the first place. Seriousyl, when people talk about poverty as if it’s a moral issue, it really gets to me.
    Healthcare should be for everyone, and paid for by everyone – each according to their means. Education, ditto. And if food is every n short enough supply that help is needed, I think the same counts. How else to counterbalance the gross infairness of our society, where the richest people don’t even see the rest of us, though we sell them food, and make their clothes and clean their houses and serve their drinks, and as a result pay for their children to have every advantage so they can perpeuate the cycle?
    Sure, it might take the die-hard capitalists a little longer to get so filthy rich if people were taxed fairly. But I can live with that.

  5. captain_shev
    Posted November 27, 2008 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Wow ThinkingClearly, and you reckon that’s *not* a rightwing view? The only way that some students can afford to go to college is by getting help from the state. Limiting it to those who have the capacity to pay for themselves perpetuates the class system that I bet you’d swear America doesn’t have. You say that people in ‘dire straits’ should be helped, and I agree – that means people who are working to put themselves through education, or those working two jobs to pay for their kids and their healthcare, or those who cannot get a job for health reasons, but are dubbed ‘lazy’ or those who have been so failed by the ‘education system’ that they are qualified for little that is legal, but will be condemned to a life behind bars (at the tax-payers’ great expense, I might add).
    Sniffing at someone who used state help during their college ‘experience’ speaks of a real lack of empathy for others’ experiences, and a lack of understanding of how environment shapes experience.
    Did you even read the article? Oe woman gets by on £107 a month. And almost all of those with the least are sharing it. And you begrudge the few pennies that came out of your wages (along with proportionally quite a lot more for arms, prisons and the rest), when you state that you didn’t need the food stamps in the first place. Seriousyl, when people talk about poverty as if it’s a moral issue, it really gets to me.
    Healthcare should be for everyone, and paid for by everyone – each according to their means. Education, ditto. And if food is every n short enough supply that help is needed, I think the same counts. How else to counterbalance the gross infairness of our society, where the richest people don’t even see the rest of us, though we sell them food, and make their clothes and clean their houses and serve their drinks, and as a result pay for their children to have every advantage so they can perpeuate the cycle?
    Sure, it might take the die-hard capitalists a little longer to get so filthy rich if people were taxed fairly. But I can live with that.

  6. captain_shev
    Posted November 27, 2008 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    oops, sorry for the double post. But I am that mad.

  7. Faye
    Posted November 27, 2008 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Yuck! This comment is so insensitive, I wish the “I dislike” option was still around.
    Rachel_Setzer did not get food stamps to “supplement [her] college experience” as you put it, she clearly outlines that she worked two jobs, could not make ends meet, racked up credit card bills trying to not starve before turning to food stamps TEMPORARILY until she finished her education. How dare you shame her and minimize her struggle with poverty while she was a college student?
    I’m a current university student. I work 25+ hours a week while I’m in school, and 70-80 hours a week during the summers at multiple jobs. I save and scrimp in order to be able to eat and live while I’m in school, and this is while I live in Canada, where our universities are subsidized and our tuition is no where near as exorbitant as American schools. I’m grateful that my university is generous with need-based bursaries so I can pay my bus fare to get to class and don’t need food stamps. If I lived in the States, where tuition is much more expensive, I’m sure I would be in the same situation that many food-stamp users are currently. And no, I would NOT be able to get another job because there are only so many hours in one day.

  8. WIDave
    Posted November 28, 2008 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    It takes the government two years to just pay off a settlement.
    People tell me the government should be in charge of our health care.
    Oy vey.

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