“The number of Americans receiving food stamps reached 31.5 million in September 2008 (10.3% of the total USA population), the highest absolute number since the program began in 1962; but the highest ratio was reached in 1994 with 10.5% of the American population. Recipients must have near-poverty incomes to qualify for benefits averaging $100 a month per family member.” That according to Wikipedia today.
The household in which I live went above the monthly income level last month (or I should say there WAS an income to report finally!) so here’s one houshold off the program now. It was nice to know where the food dollar was coming from (after months of struggling) when no one was working and there was no disability benefits or insurance. There was no real income here for a year, so you can imagine what life was like…maybe not. I am not living in the burbs with anything to fall back on. Who knows if or what will be the income next month or next year, but since the householder is able to work again, we are back to the “as it comes” method again. Others survive with less. I have no income and am not on disabillity because I never got a real diagnosis other than vertigo, and someone else in the household was working. After his two hip surgeries this year he is finally able to work again, and though there has been improvement I still can’t work. I am better than I was two years ago, so I’ll take that!
Once you go above a certain income level (I think it’s $1,400/month in Indiana for a household of two) you are off foodstamps, as it’s just there to help short-term when there is no income or for low income households. Averaging the income here is below the poverty level generally, but the rule is if you go above that in a month, that’s it. Due to the storm here a couple of months ago there were a couple of jobs to do with bending some metal (gutters, roofing, etc). I really don’t want to hope others have something bad happen to feed me, but it’s kinda’ a feast or famine thing here at times. It helps to live in an historic district where some can and do want good repros.
A couple of insurance jobs the beau has been able to do have caught up the rent and the other bills. Can’t really put a finger on what the household income was this year yet, but if this household makes the poverty level this year I will be surprised…that’s just the way it is here. Still, I am grateful to have had the any food assistance short term. I really feel blessed. There are many others out there who need assistance now, so I’m glad it’s available. I never thought I would need help, so ya’ just never know. I’m sure the government’s statistics don’t really tell the whole story because many struggle a long time before asking for help, case in point, but there are many who have less than I do and never ask at all.
In a perfect world no one would ever go hungry, so everytime I pass by the red kettle, I put something in, even if it’s only a dollar or less…it’s something to help those less fortunate than myself.
**Added April 15, 2009 The household net for 2008 wound up being less than $6,500, so you can see I was appreciative of the food-assistance program.