All government provided benefits stigmatize the people receiving them. Those on cash aid, HUD's section 8 voucher program, medicaid, state disability, SSDI, and other federal programs are often treated like criminals.
The blame for this unfair stereotyping starts with a general misunderstanding the program. The SNAP program is not part of the welfare system. The programs have separate funding and different functions.
In January, 2016 45.4 million people were on the SNAP program. Families on SNAP receive an average of $256.11 monthly. SNAP benefits can only be used to purchase food and nonalcoholic drinks. The amount of the purchase is deducted from the EBT card just like a debit transaction.
To qualify for the SNAP program, applicants must meet income requirements. A family of 4 must have a gross income of $2,628 (130% of poverty level) or less to qualify.
Applicants with prior drug convictions are disqualified and if someone currently receiving SNAP is found guilty of a drug related crime, the family is disqualified.
In California, people on SSI are not eligible for the SNAP program because state funds supplement SSI payments.
This makes it difficult for these people to afford housing, prescriptions, utility, and food costs each month. Many have to choose between health sustaining medications or food; or, electricity or food.
In the past 10 years the number of people on the SNAP program has increased by more than 20,000 participants. This growth continues even with states implementing drug testing to weed out the bad guys (approximately 1% of those tests come back positive). The biased opinions of those on the SNAP program come from the media's focus on those who have taken advantage of the system.
The USDA reports a fraud rate of less than 1% for the SNAP program. This is the lowest rate for all federal assistance programs.
Videos of SNAP participants being verbally assaulted in grocery stores go viral more often. Wouldn't you like to know why that person is so interested in their payment method? Do you pay attention to how the person ahead of you pays?