Thursday, July 7, 2011

California ranks next to last in food stamp participation - and it's hurting our economy

The Sacramento News & Review reports on one woman's struggle to obtain food stamp assistance in California, following Monica Turner through "the food stamp process’s web of appointments and paperwork." Fixing the broken system could go a long way toward helping California's economy. Here's why:
Many Californians give up or don’t bother. As a result, the state leaves $4.9 billion in benefits on the table each year, money that could juice the economy by $8.7 billion in related activity.
Forces here and in the nation’s capital are now working hard to change the way people participate in the federal food-stamps program, known nationally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Improving California’s participation could provide a potent injection for a sick economy, a booster shot that California could mainline straight into its corroded veins. At the same time, this elixir would also help people in need, people such as Turner, and provide a jackpot return on the investment.
At the moment, California faces some embarrassing statistics. Despite need, the state ranks next to last nationally in food-stamp participation. Less than half of those eligible in California enroll, compared to a national average of 75 percent. Read the entire article

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