Tuesday, August 14, 2007
McClatchy Washington Bureau | 08/14/2007 | Study: Half of nation's poor don't get food stamps: "The study found that a significant number of counties, 13.2 percent, had below-average percentages of low-income people participating in the program, even though they had above-average poverty rates. The authors cited many reasons for the disparities, including the stigma of government benefits, eligibility rules and lack of information about the benefits. Under the food-stamp program, a family is eligible for aid if its income is 130 percent of the poverty level. Nearly all of the states followed a national trend of increasing the number and percentage of low-income people participating in the food-stamp program in recent years. The study said that much of the increase was the result of changes in eligibility rules that took effect in 2002. And since 2004, all states are now using electronic benefits transfer systems, which allow food-stamp beneficiaries to appear to be using debit cards."