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Obama’s USDA to Hold EBT Transfers until Further Notice

October 16, 2013

When I first heard this story yesterday I wanted to get something out as  quickly as possible and did not have time to write.  Everything you have heard  appears to be true. EBT benefits may be withheld in early November. At what  point they might resume I do not know. But there is more to this  story  than a government shutdown or dirty politics.

obama_food_stamp  First  let me give you a quote, video and copy of a letter from Mac’s article so you can get up to speed, if you do not  already know what is going on. Then we will start to fill in the gaps that we  can. Mac Slavo reports:

…the USDA, which oversees the Supplemental  Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), has just issued an order  to SNAP agency directors calling for their respective States to implement an  emergency contingency program because of government funding issues.  In  a letter obtained by the Crossroads Urban Center food  pantry, the USDA is directing state agencies to, “delay their November issuance  files and delay transmission to State Electronic Benefit  Transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.”


Here is the USDA letter in full:


A lot of people are obviously in shock about this development and  the natural reaction for a conservative might be to blame the Obama  administration. Are they trying to make people hurt in order to villainize  republicans over the government shutdown? Possibly, but there is more to it.

Here is what people need to understand. If you are on food  stamps it is going to hurt whether this looming disaster is avoided or  not.  This did not pop up out of the blue. There was a planned cutback of SNAP  benefits starting November 1, 2013 already in place. It was passed through  congress in 2010 and was scheduled for this date.

Stacy Dean reported in December of 2012:

As policymakers deliberate over the “fiscal cliff” and calls are coming  from some quarters for major cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance  Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps), they should take this into  account:  SNAP benefits are already scheduled to fall next November 1,  when  the 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary benefits boost ends.  Any further  cuts  would come on top of these significant reductions and would cause further  hardship.

Benefits will decline for every SNAP household.  For families of  three, the cut likely will be $25 to $30 a month — $300 to $360 a  year.

That’s a serious loss, especially in light of the very low size  of basic SNAP benefits.  Without the Recovery Act’s boost, SNAP benefits  average only about $1.30 per person per meal.   Nutrition  experts have long held that these levels are inadequate to meet  families’ basic  food needs.

The Recovery Act boosted SNAP benefits beginning in April 2009, which  helped to spur economic activity and assist low-income households during the  Great Recession.  The Recovery Act called for benefits to remain at their  new, higher level until the program’s regular annual inflation adjustments  overtook it.  In 2010, however, Congress passed legislation ending the  increase abruptly on November 1, 2013.

The exact amount of the cut that households will face in November won’t  be clear until July, when the Agriculture Department (USDA) will calculate  SNAP benefit levels for fiscal year 2014 based on June food costs.  But,  the cut apparently will be roughly $8 to $10 per person per month, based on the  Congressional Budget Office’s current  food-inflation forecast.

These cuts will likely cause hardship for some SNAP participants, who  include 22 million children (10 million of whom live in “deep poverty,” with  family incomes below half of the poverty line) and 9 million  people who are elderly or have a serious disability.

This announcement obviously coincides with an already planned cut. What I am  telling you is that if you are on food stamp benefits  then you are not going to like the end result even if you get your benefits in  November. They were already scheduled to be reduced.

My hope is that this letter coincides with a recalculation of benefits and  that it won’t delay things for more than a week. I really do not know that it  is  directly tied to the current government shut down although I know  that  any opportunistic politician will tell you it is (while blaming the other  party).

I think it is important that we do not jump to that conclusion but that  recipients do expect that there will be a probable delay in their benefits.  This  would be typical of an inefficient government that always tends to wait  until  the last minute. If benefits are to be reduced on November 1st then this  should  have already been taken care of. It is my hope that this is the  explanation.

With that said, the USDA letter does mention a concern over a “continued  lapse in federal funding” which could point to something bigger. Will that be  resolved when the shutdown ends? I do not know.

My suggestion is that people prepare for the worst and think about ways they  can help out, or reach out, if benefits are delayed or cut off. I have some  family members that receive EBT benefits and I have to be prepared to feed them  if necessary. They may be forced to eat hot dogs and macaroni & cheese but  I  will help them all I can. Please keep this in mind. If you will not be  effected  then think of those who may be. If you will be effected then let loose  of your  pride and reach out. Family is family and we must do what we can to  take care of  our own.

Should you help someone who has been abusing the system for years? My opinion  is that you should not. It may be time for some tough love. But we need to  remember that not all EBT recipients are career welfare abusers.

Daisy Luther made this point yesterday:

We all know that the system is the victim of a lot of lazy people who have  abused it for years, but not all EBT recipients fit that description. So please  use some common sense and help out where you can.

Many of you have already seen the video and read the story about the 16  states that lost EBT benefits over the weekend. It was a temporary problem that  was fixed, but…

This letter might very well tie into that. I see two distinct possibilities.

The first possibility is that states were reacting to the letter and that  caused a problem with the benefits database. I am not sure how those databases  are set up, but if states were trying to make adjustments then it could have  caused a glitch. That is just a guess. You may or may not agree with it. It is  my opinion that it’s possible.

The other possibility is one that the social networks are already abuzz  with. There is a growing consensus that the EBT stoppage was a  test  to see how people might react. If they know that there is a  benefit delay or cut coming in November they might have wanted to “look into  the  future” so to speak and see how people may react.

God help us if that is the case. This video is a good example of how crazy  people can get in a relatively short amount of time. This is a story marked  with  some panic and much abuse.

The above video signals that even a short delay could see some people losing  their heads. My personal opinion is that most of the problems came from people  who were trying to steal from the system, but there were no doubt a few people  who panicked and made a mad dash to get food with honest intentions.

You need to understand that any kind of delay in benefits or stoppage of  benefits could result in extra-long lines at grocers, riots, looting and  stealing and it could affect any of us.  Stock up if you are able and  think about protecting your family if things actually begin to get out of  control.

In summary I just want to say that I am hopeful that this is not as bad as it  first seems. We haven’t had time for the story to unravel yet. Only small media  sources are reporting so far and we haven’t had any statements to the public on  behalf of the federal government. With that said I do not want anyone to wait  around when they can do some common sense preparation soon. I want our readers  to know that this could be on the way and I want them to prepare as best they  can just in case this happens.

My gut feeling is that it will not be as bad as we think but that it will be  a major challenge going forward. I don’t think the sky is necessarily falling  but I do think there will be delays and hungry people do some crazy things.

Please prepare yourself in a common sense way. No one needs to panic but  stocking up on extra dry goods and bottled water would certainly be wise.

The worst case scenario is pretty bad and I don’t think I need to go into  detail because many are already thinking it. If this is financial based, and  the  food stamp program is in fact insolvent, then it could trigger lots of  things  including a national state of emergency and martial law. That  possibility is  there as well and we need to be prepared for it.

I will update you when I know something. Hang in there and talk about  preparation with your family within the next few days. It’s OK to wait a day or  two because we may have a break in the story that tells us that it won’t be as  bad as it now looks.

But don’t wait too long.


Credit To:  Dean Garrison / Freedom Outpost

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