Food Stamps (also known as SNAP Benefits) is one of the most misunderstood government programs out there. Politicians have made sure that a program that is designed to help families in need with food assistance has turned into a political football that is now used as an excuse to bash poor people. But when you get past the politics of it all and dig deeper, you will find that for the overwhelming number of people on SNAP EBT benefits, it has been a lifesaver, providing the critical safety net that it was designed to be. Here are three facts you did not know about SNAP benefits that may surprise you.
Most People on SNAP Don’t Have Jobs
It’s a big believe in the general population that those who are on food stamps are lazy, unemployed people who just want to feed off the government. However, according to government data, 60 percent of households with Children that receive food stamps have adults who actually work. The problem is that they don’t make enough money to be able to afford enough food for themselves and their children, hence their reliance on SNAP benefits to make up the shortfall.
Food Stamps is Filled with Fraud
Actually, this one is flatly not true. When you have a program with over 40 million recipients, you are always going to find stories of people trying to cheat the system. However, the overwhelming number of food stamp money goes to what is was intended for – buying food that is on the approved list. The government’s own data shows that not only is food stamp fraud down dramatically over the last 15 years, but waste in the system is now at an all time low of about 3%. And here is the bigger truth – the biggest culprits when it comes to fraud in the SNAP program are not consumers, but actually retailers that are participating in the program – that’s where most of the fraud comes form.
People Who are Here Illegally are on Food Stamps
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the program. It’s been heightened by politicians, who peddle this lie to scare constituents into believing that their tax dollars are being wasted. But the truth is that undocumented immigrants have never been eligible for food stamps. Even for those who are documented, they have to have lived here for five years to even be eligible to apply (with exceptions for refugees, asylees and children). Therefore the idea that people are just getting off the plane or crossing the border and going straight to the food stamps office to apply for SNAP benefits is just not true and has never been.