When you think of all the injustices happening all over it probably shouldn't come to anyone's surprise that those programs whose allotted funds serve as safety nets for the poor, the unemployed, and the underemployed have been purposely diverted into other state agencies leaving millions struggling to find the means to put food on the table or to pay the ever pressing utility bills just to avoid having their power cut off. What has been happening for the past couple of years is a well orchestrated budget slight of hand with the money earmarked for those safety nets like Food Stamps. What has been happening in Florida you can bet your bottom dollar it is happening in every other state all across the country.
Take the case of one Henry Smith. Henry who is retired, receives no pension, lives with his wife and survives on just two Social Security checks a month. When Henry retired just last year he calculated the amount of money he and his wife would receive in food assistance using not only the states guidelines but the federal governments guidelines as well. His combined income of $1310 per month qualified both Henry and his wife for the public assistance of Food Stamps of $367 per month. The payment is based by multiplying your net monthly income by 30 percent. A sigh of relief was quickly dispelled when Henry received notice that instead of the $367 per month allotment he was supposed to receive was in fact just $97 per month. When Henry tried to contact the states agency he was told that they were lucky to get even that amount and they could do nothing more.
The case of Henry Smith is not an isolated case either. Upon further investigating thousands of Floridians who are eligible for the SNAP program actually receive far less than what they are supposed to be receiving. As it turns out more that 17% of the people in Florida are receiving Food Stamps. According to the state the qualifications to be eligible do set this state at the apex of controversy. When a family like the Smith's qualify for $367 per month and receive only $97 that leaves $250 unaccountable. Questions need to be forthcoming, as to where is this money going if it is diverted away form the people who genuinely qualify for it? That $250 earmarked for the Smith's in Food assistance where the Smith's who are below the nations poverty level must now make up that short fall by very harsh realities that they wouldn't have to make. When food prices have only soared and utility costs keep increasing put the Smith's of Florida and the Smith's in every other state not only is their health in jeopardy but their future as well.
The Federal Government is partly to blame. There is a national set of guidelines for individuals in order to qualify for a federally budgeted SNAP program. But, the problem stems from the individual states. They impose their own set of criteria for individuals and families eligibility. With so many millions of Americans that are unemployed still, underemployed or on fixed incomes like Social Security leaves little doubt that the SNAP program, the one safety net that insures people are able to secure the necessary food to stave off starvation and diseases are able to get that assistance. When individual states take it upon themselves to purposely divert much needed funding, funds that by the way are sent by the federal government, away form individuals who really need that helping hand is a blatant misuse of the publics trust.
The malfeasance of the states in handling the publics funds has reached an all time high. Yet, not one public official has the gumption to tackle a growing miscarriage of justice. Just because you happen to be poor is no reason why the state has the audacity to divert funding from a program that is by design supposed to lend that helping hand to individuals and families that need it most. The most acute misuse of the publics funds in the SNAP program is happening right here in Florida. But, it is happening all over the United States when states take it upon themselves to divert the federal allotment for that safety net and withhold most of that funding. Not only are the Food Stamp funds being withheld but the states allocated funds in Medicare and Medicaid are also being withheld purposely just so that the powers that be in state houses put the money into interest bearing accounts for the state to make more money instead of reimbursing hospitals and other medical facilities that have already incurred expenses that need to be paid.
For the Henry Smith's out there who are still struggling to make ends meet and having to rob Peter to pay Paul the day to day struggle to put food on the table is getting much tougher. It is a reality that just because of all the Smith's that are on fixed incomes, or people who earn so little wages are the ones that continued to be at the mercy of state agencies. State agencies who continue to carry out policies according to the whims of the powers that be. And, in today's economy it is primarily the Republicans who continue their assault on the poor.