Cuts Coming To Food Stamp Program

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SCRANTON -- Starting Friday, those who get help through food stamps will be getting less money.

The federal government will be cutting back the program unless Congress takes action. In Pennsylvania, that will affect nearly two million people.

We talked about the cuts with those who use food stamps in West Scranton.

A federal boost to food stamp funding back in 2009 is set to expire. On Friday, those who use access cards in Pennsylvania will see their benefits cut anywhere from about $11 a month to more than $65 a month, depending on income.

Rose is a single mother from west Scranton.

"Hopefully, they won't cut me back too much because that's what I live on for the month. It would really hurt me."

The average payout for food help in Pennsylvania is $265 per family per month.

Georgina Kersavage is on disability and getting food stamps to help.

"I think the cuts are not a good idea because the prices are going to go up and the people are going to hurt."

"It's crazy, because it's hard for low income families to even survive in this world," said Candy Chesar of Taylor. "I work too, but it's hard, it's really hard

Chesar says too many people abuse the program but with two of her children with her shopping at Gerrity's in Scranton, she said this will hurt those who really need it.

"It's a big cut. They're supposed to cut $35. When you have a family, it's hard to support your family and with Thanksgiving coming and Christmas, it's really hard."

While nearly two million Pennsylvanians get help buying food through food stamps, many other taxpayers point out they have to help pay for it.

These cuts are expected to save the U.S. $40 million over 10 years.

"People need food stamps," said Don Jones of Scranton. "I think they should have random drug and alcohol tests of people that don't deserve them and cutting it back will hurt the people that do need them."

Senator Bob Casey joins many other Democrats calling for lawmakers to prevent these cuts to the food stamp program, but if nothing is done they go into effect on Friday.


    • meratenjou

      Step-parents didn’t breed them…They simply walked in and started taking care of someone else’s lack of responsibility…That being said sometimes when you take in the lack of transportation and the special needs of a child you are required to stay home and care for them…It is not the lack of wanting to work but the non-option of working when your children need you b/c proper childcare is not available. These one-sided arguments for “if you can’t feed them don’t breed them” is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. It takes a really ignorant person to not even attempt to consider everyone’s situation and have such a great lack of empathy for other human-beings. Every child deserves to be properly fed, regardless of what their condition might be. Without food stamps my family would be screwed right now…I’ve worked since i was 15 and for the first time in 8 in a half years I’ve had to not work in order to take care of my family. I paid taxes like everyone else and I’m so sick of people trying to make me feel bad for using welfare in my families time of need…Everything changes when children are introduced to your life and it is not always planned or necessarily your fault that they end up in your care…I never birthed children, I am taking care of my step-children because their mother couldn’t quit using meth…it happened when we least expected it and neither of us had any time to prepare for it. People please try a little empathy….It goes a long way in understanding people who don’t deserve your judgment or hatred.

      • Tom R

        No one take this troll seriously. She enjoys making false accusations without knowing facts. Her opinion is irrelevant. She is just on here to be offensive and narrow-minded.

      • meratenjou

        It must be hard not being clever enough to think of your own insults. I’m done here. Have fun winning at internet, and getting that last copy and pasted word.hahaha

  • stacy

    i have had to be on the food stamp program. I received 250 a month for my family of four. While I agree that buying expensive seafood as well as expensive cuts of meat are not the best way to spend that money I do disagree with the comments made that their help should be cut because of it. The same goes for pop and chips. price pop and chips compared to a bag of apples and juice. Healthy food is expensive. It doesnt stretch as far as some of the “junk food” does. Its incredibly easy to say budget better or get a job. I am thankful for what I did get when I needed it as I am thankful my daughter who cannot work is on disability and getting 150.00 a month for her fs benefit. 11.00 means a lot to her. 35.00 means she goes without because the money she gets from disability pays her rent and her electric and her copays for her meds. Be slow to judge and careful in your criticism. you may be on the need end of this someday!

  • blah blah

    U wanna know who abuses the system Strippers they get food stamps and medical and prescriptions for perks n other pills to snort and sell but nobody realizes that huh?

  • Ty

    Unfortunately the people who actually NEED the food stamps and use them for real purposes. People take advantage of it all and ruin it for others who are in desperate need of it. The funny thing is at my job you wouldn’t believe the crap you see and hear when it comes to food stamps. I’ve had customers tell me that they will continue to have kids to stay on them or others say they won’t find a job because if they do they’ll lose them. Are you kidding me!? I feel they need to start buckling down on the people who take advantage of food stamps and stop ruining it for the people who are in desperate need for it. I was on food stamps when I was younger for a year. But, my parents went back to school and now they have great jobs. I am very thankful my mother and father are teachers because I couldn’t be living the lifestyle I live.

  • jaci evans

    I worked until my 1yr old was diagnosed with myoclonic epilepsy n kept seizing food stamps I rely on lots of people abuse the system I see people on Facebook trying to sell theirs then u have people like me who need it and never bought sea food or lobster get real people!

  • mimi

    I work at a grocery store, and some of the recipients that buy there, are outrageous. There might be a hand full of people who buy good food, but the majority of them are buying junk. Snacks, soft drinks, candy, baked goods, I wish I was eligible for food stamps. I cant afford to shop in the store at work. I have to shop at aldi’s, and dollor General, and family dollor for my groceries. There are people out there who sell the food stamps for money to buy they’re drugs. And soforth. I have a family member who is on disability and only gets 11.00 a month. Now that’s a joke. ,

    • George T Coggins

      im disabled and recieve 16$ a month i usually end up using to buy elderly neighbors food. i do not have a family or children to support but can easily goto price chopper or walmart, spend 50-100$ a month and have food to spare. people should really learn 2 things. how to cook and how to garden

  • Fran M

    Where are all these starving people? According to government statistics 69% of Americans are overweight! So much fraud in food stamp system. They need stricter guidelines and they need to be enforced.

  • Sandra

    Are people really crying over $11 a month? Learn to manage your money and this wouldn’t be an issue. I can cut $11 – $65 from my good budget a month and still be fine. Most people on EFS don’t care and spend it on items unnecessary. WIC is specified to what is allowed and what is needed. EFS should learn from them. You should not be allowed buy anything thats not a necessity. Last time I checked red bull was not a necessity. Lots of things need to change. Anyone who complains about their FREE money needs to adjust their train of thought. Help is one thing. Using it as a way of life and think they are owed to them is another. It’s a sad world we live in.

    • Tom

      Well put Sandra ! Maybe they can cut back on how many packs of cigs they buy a week…..Lets see $5 a pack…Times,say 5 packs a week…That’s $25 dollars a week….Times 4 weeks.Hummmmm….Just saying…….

      • stacey

        With the number of people that abuse the system it really does need to be done. As a matter of fact I’ve been saying something similar for ages. But instead of the cuts be put on the food stamps, put a cut on the free money. A lot of adjustments (changes) should be made with the welfare. One of which is they should be just as firm w/ the use of the foodstamps as how they are w/the WIC. No junk food! (Process foods, chips, soda, candy etc) Watch then, the obesity rate in kids/teens will drop. Another change that’s highly needed is random drug testing. Never let them know in advance w/the test will be run. Watch then the number of people who would lose their free benefits. It really makes me sick the number of people that abuse the system and don’t think anything of it. Our youngest daughter had mild Austim. We don’t get any of that, not even SSI and we survive. If your income exceeds the limit the child’s not eligible. Which I agree w/100%.

      • Mary

        That is harsh and very judgmental. Just because some people smoke on foodstamps does not mean everyone does.

        I am forced on foodstamps due to a disability that comes and goes. When well I work 40+ hours a week, but not always possible. I never have smoked or drank and honestly I do not even know what illegal drugs look like.

        Due to my health I am on a restricted diet and I need every dollar to get through each month. $11 makes a difference to me because when I get cut that the first thing to go is the meal replacement my doctor says is important to get the nutrients my body cannot process from food. That costs $10 a sixpack.

        Getting that regularly actually saves money because if I can get my illness into remission faster I can get back to work faster and support myself. This not only save the foodstamp money I get, it also puts me on the tax role and able to give back to the system that helps me.

    • Mary

      Even prisoners are given some sweet foods or treats. Why do the disabled need to have more food restrictions than prisoners?

  • Brittany

    I do not see where people need that much to live on for food depending on the size of family! My husband is the only one that currently works, because I was laid off work, and we have 2 daughters and 1 on the way and we still make to much for Food Stamps! I get a lot of our food a discount stores like surplus outlets and stuff I can keep our food budget for a month around 150.00 or less!

  • DJ Kosi

    Truthfully I believe some should be cut from the program. I am sick of seeing people paying for soda, chips, candy, etc. with their food stamps and others buying lobsters and steaks. That money is to be used for food for the month. My husband and i work hard and can’t afford to eat lobster dinners. EBT should be monitored. Also, candy and soda is not taxable for food stamps, so why should everyone else get taxed?

  • who cares

    A lot of you people are so horrible.. the reason why the country is the way it is.. I get food stamps I buy Doritos .. so what I have bags that I give them to my daughter for snack at school so ya I buy snacks with my food stamp card .. I have 3 children and my fiancee works about 50 hrs a week .. if it wasn’t for my foodstamps my youngest child probably would stay on only formula and yes I buy name brand formula because o use my food stamps mainly onmy children’s needs so if I go.without I do as long as they dont right now.I’m a stay at home mother because there’s no way logically for me to work around my fiancee and if I work we would get more foodstamps which isn’t necessary .. instead of being pissed fill out the papers and see if you get approved .. I wasn’t on the program until I had my last child and things got hard …no my child was not planned and yes I could’ve waited but things happen . stop judging and be in the shoes of people who really red foodstamps who cry worrying.about paying bills and making sure your kids have what they need .. things get rough ay times .. grow up people

    • Tom R

      Due to the lack of punctuation in your comment, I was barley able to decipher what you were trying to say. Maybe if you had applied yourself in school, you would not need to rely on other people to buy your food!

  • Kate

    I am a hard working mother who goes to school full time and my husband works full time. We are both trying very hard to better our lives for the benefit of our children. I have worked my whole life at a full time job and took a year off to attend nursing school. Receiving EBT makes it possible to feed our children and still be able to pay our Mortgage and electric on time. Please don’t knock people who are using food stamps as they are supposed to be used. We are very grateful for the little help we do get and do not use the system as a “career.” It is a temporary bandaid to help us while we work toward establishing successful jobs. It is disappointing that a few people ruin it for everyone- attaching a stigma to something that was implemented to aid hard working families in a temporary time of need. Please know that not all users abuse the system.

  • Spike Holmes

    EBT is for unprepared food. If a merchant is selling prepared food, cigarettes, beer, etc,, they are guilty of an offense. Drug testing sounds easy. This is also an expensive proposition. You need to test more than once and randomly. You need test kits and personnel to administer the tests. Every person will need to be observed while giving there urine. Next issue is who do you test/ only the “adult”, kids over 16, kids who are in the home but out of school? What do you do if someone claims a false positive? This can and does happen in Parole/Probation situations. Everything always sounds easy until you actually begin to look at the cost of such a program..

      • Mary

        Utah spent $30,000 more than the program saved testing everybody last year.

        Last year Arizone spent 200 million testing and only saved less than a thousand.

        Florida stopped it because it was a “money pit”

  • s welch

    Hey I work at a big retailer and this article says the average family gets 265 a month. Thats a crock. I seen people come in and get 2 carts full of food. bills totaling 400-500. Some people get 900-1100 a month. Please drug test all of them and I bet more than half will fail. Kick them off the systems. Don’t take away from those who really need it.

    • ryry

      1 person $200 $189 -$11
      2 people $367 $347 -$20
      3 people $526 $497 -$29
      4 people $668 $632 -$36
      5 people $793 $750 -$43
      6 people $952 $900 -$52
      7 people $1,052 $995 -$57
      8 people $1,202 $1,137 -$65

      Also, you understand balances carry over up to 12months? So that means that person has over 8 people in their house.

  • dobbner

    I agree some need help but alot dont its tough when im at the store my wife and i work full time i barely fill a half of cart because thats all i can afford and i have to wait in line for the person with the acess card and 3 carts full of steaks seafood and what not .Drug/alc testing and they should atleast have to apply for a job i say.To the ones abusing the system

  • Ron

    I watch people pull out money and the put it back in the pocket and use there foodstamp card to buy junk food and monster drinks! And then get in there Lexus and drive off! Makes me sick!!

  • Wendy

    I work for a living….at the same place for almost 25 years. I have $250 dollars a month in my budget for groceries, and that is for 2 people and I have no problem feeding us! What gets me is when I see people going to convinent store and ordering subs and pizza and paying with their access cards. They should not be able to do that.

  • Anita

    Maybe cuts wouldn’t be necessary if they would adjust the allowed foods. A food stamp recipient can order a $50 birthday cake from the bakery. They can get expensive sushi and organic foods, store-made hoagies, steaks, and yes, even expensive seafood. I say give them cheap cuts of meat, flour, sugar, yeast, pasta, mac and cheese, GENERIC brands, milk and cereal. They should prepare their own meals and not get store-made. A little common sense will go a long way.

    • Mary

      What about the families living in such poverty they are not able to cook? or the disabled? elderly? A lot of them depend on food they can put in microwave or just eat cold.

      Our prisoners eat better than that. Why should the disabled have to suffer more than prisoners?

  • Ruth

    I agree, people should get tested for drugs before getting food stamps. They should be made to get some kind of a job too. My husband and I work very hard and it is still hard for us to by food. These people are living high off the hog. I go in a store and see the stuff people buy on food stamps and I think to myself , I can’t even afford that stuff! It is not right. We the hard working people contribute to this mess! Do something about this! Change the way people spend food stamps , drug test and make them get a job or cut them off!!

  • Anomynous

    I never agreed with how the food stamp program was handled, even when I was on the program myself a few years back. There are people out there who have them and should not have them, and than there are people out there who should have them and dont. My husband I “make to much money” in a month to receive food stamps, yet we do not even have enough money to last us in groceries for the month so we live off of food pantry or peanut butter and jelly until we can afford food again. Yet you see some of these people out there who are on food stamps who are buying steaks , and everything that is luxary. I am glad that they are putting more restrictions on the food stamp programs but I do not agree with that they are making these kind of cuts.

  • Ann Marie

    I believe the whole food stamp system needs to be revamped . If people truly need help they would not have a problem buying approved food items (like WIC does) If you need food for your family and are home all day why would you complain about really having to cook a meal . I work long days and still come home to cook a meal

  • Marti

    People need. Not all but some. I needed help. I just finished school. And now I have a good job. But I did not abuse the system and I used my food stamps for FOOD. And not lobser tails and clams things that will last. I have two kids they each got one snock per month that was it. We needed to eat. It’s the people abusing the system making it hard for everyone else. I am all for drug testing people on welfare!

    • nubwaxer

      you know who wants to do very expensive drug tests to catch a very few scammers? look at politicians (rick scott) who are involved in the drug testing industry or their cronies who are.

    • Tina

      I do believe there are way to many people that abuse the system. Its sad for those that abuse it and don’t really need it. There are families who struggle to make ends meet and cant get them. I feel you should be drug tested to receive help and you should have to do job searches. You shouldn’t just be aloud to sit around and get free money.Those who are doing that is affecting the ones who TRULY need the help and are just scrapping by. I do find it absurd that you get so much money a month. I maybe spend ruffly $200 a month on groceries. We only get snacks and such once in awhile bc I know we cant afford it. Kuddo’s to dropping the money down. People don’t need $500-$600 a month for food if they are not buying junk food.

  • Dorothy

    First off I worked in a store as a cashier and 9 out of 10 people abuse the system. They need to cut back when people come in the store and buy lobsters, shrimp, sushi, clams , haddock, steaks from the butcher shop, and gourmet candy and the list goes on. I work and my husband works and I can’t go and buy that stuff. Then they hit the mac and buy cigs, lottery tickets and beer. They need to investigate each person that applies. Just the other day i’m going in a store and get approached by a man and he says i’ll go in the store with you and you can pick out 40 dollars worth of food and give me 20 dollars cash. What the hell is that. I guess he was getting too much . This isn’t the first time this happened.

    • mdrake

      this is how junkies get money. seriously, it’s crazy I know. they get foodstamps and then sell them for cash for dope.

  • Nan

    Get a job if you want money people! I am sick of seeing people with food stamps buying lobster tails, soda, Doritos and all the other things that are not necessity. I work and I cannot even afford to buy lobster! It’s about time they make cuts. And I do think the drug testing is an excellent idea too. I feel bad for those that need the help, but the majority do not!

  • ryry

    The current amount is 200.00 for one person. And like $365 for two people. That amounts to $6.45 per day for all three meals. And now they are cutting it back? $5.32 cents a day to live on. A pack of meat is around $15.00 for three pounds, plus whatever your making with it. That’s three days of food stamps gone for one meal! Lets see congress live off that much a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wont happen! People are already starving on this program, running out of food a week or two before the end of the month. I guess they will figure it out when people start dying.

    • Brenda Evanko

      well then get another job…do whatever it takes. people are starving on this program, are you serious……….why should people who don’t work get all the handouts………I am not saying don’t help. but don’t make it easier for the ones who should not get it………..and I have to laugh at who they interviewed for this segment….seriously………..and thats why we are in the state we are in.I can’t help but laugh

      • Mean Joe Green

        If I have to work everyday for the next 40 years to provide for my family then so should the majority of these people. I agree, there are those that really need help and are down on their luck and they should get it. But how about those people that buy $6.50 pack of cigarettes, beer, lottery, steak, lobster, etc? Food stamps should be for FOOD ONLY. And just like I have to budget what I spend at the store, these people should be taught to make their food stamps last. I spend $300 month for my family of 3 and we survive. If I cannot buy cigarettes then I do not buy them. Drug test those using food stamps and kick off those who do test positive. If they have kids, notify family and friends and/or proper authorities.

      • benda

        “Well then get another job.” Easier said than done, lady. You hiring? And paying more than minimum wage? Or are you going to babysit for free while someone goes and works that second job? And before the rude comments about “Can’t feed ’em, don’t breed ’em”, what about the single parent of one child whose spouse died? A child who lost one parent doesn’t need to “lose” another who suddenly goes off to work nights. Then who is to blame when the kid is failing school, getting into trouble, etc. because he is unsupervised? I agree that restricting food stamp purchases to healthy foods is a good idea, but not everyone who uses food stamps is a lazy, scamming, drug addicted low-life. And as for the comment that $11 isn’t much, the heck it’s not! I just bought five pounds of pasta and five jars of pasta sauce for $10. That’s a heck of a lot of food for two people for a pretty low price. In fact, that is 10 meals. two whole work weeks or school weeks. YOU do without 10 meals a month and see how effectively you perform at your job, how clear-headed you are when you do your schoolwork or drive your car, how healthy you are, how polite you are to strangers on the sidewalk when you’re hungry and headachy from lack of food. Raising minimum wage to a livable wage would virtually eliminate the need for food stamps, but I guess all you folks who spend $5 on a cup of coffee could care less about that. Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge. Become a widow, lose a job, suffer a catastrophic illness, and it could be you getting the food stamps. No one is impervious to hard times, and if the wealthiest, fattest, most wasteful nation on the planet can’t help those less fortunate obtain FOOD, then we are all heading down the fast track to hell.

    • Mg Helio

      ryry, I think I’ve found the problem. First, you need a lesson in Math. If 2 people eat 3 pounds of meat in one meal, there’s something REALLY wrong. Second, if you’re spending $5 per pound of ground beef, you need to switch grocery stores (it’s around $3 or $4 when I buy it with cash). Third, the ADA recommends 4 to 6 ounces of beef per day. Let’s say you’re on the up side of that and have 6 for both of you. That’s 12 ounces per day. 3 pounds of beef has 48 ounces. That means that 3 pounds of beef should last you both 4 days for about $12 (or about $3 per day). Budgeting isn’t hard when you know math and don’t over eat.

      • ryry

        I’m saying, 15.00 is more than three days worth of food stamps. Not including breakfast or lunch.
        And you know meat went up right?
        I shop at Giant, and Walmart. Walmart is more.
        Value pack of chicken, 4.78lbs $14.29 $2.98per lb
        Value pack of ground meat 3.02lbs $15.00 4.96 per lb
        Walmart is around 5.00 per lb
        $4.889 is the national average for ground meat.
        $3.599 is the national average for boneless skinless chicken breast.

    • Donna Seltzer

      I won’t buy cuts of meat that costs $5.00 a pound. You can make a decent & tasty meal with cheaper cuts of meat to make your grocery budget go further. It takes some planning and using your head but it can be done. Hard working families do this all the time….it’s a way of life. It Stretches their hard earned paychecks farther.

    • hobabby

      Good heavens! You better learn how to buy food or have someone teach you! One person gets $200 on food stamps?

      Hubby and I spend around $200 a month (cash) and we eat decently.We go to a lot of “generic” stores, only buy items on sale and use coupons wherever possible. We don’t buy lobster but I allow fish at a certain limit per pound, but no fancy shellfish anymore. Everything is made from scratch.

      Unless you are just trying to bluff and whine, you better to buy food so you can stretch those dollars..

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.