Living the good life on welfare…right

So this page came to my attention today from one of my co-workers. The first item on the page, ostensibly is a phone call to a morning radio call in show from a woman who is living off subsidized housing, utilities support, SNAP, and a free cell phone. Her husband supposedly will catch odd jobs when he feels like it and they have three kids.

The second story is about a report in the Rio Grande valley somewhere in which a guy claims he frequently gets people in his convenience store with balances of thousands of dollars on their Lone Star (SNAP/food stamps) cards.

In the first case, the woman claims to get about $1300 in supports including $425/month in SNAP and pays $50/month in rent from her own income.  I don’t buy it. They are supporting five people on less than $1500 a month? In Austin? Plus, I’ve never in my life heard of anyone so happy to be receiving benefits. I think the whole call is a hoax. I won’t claim that the folks at KLBJ perpetrated it, but they sure fell for it like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner.

As for the other story, they have exactly one person making claims that are completely uncorroborated. The only official numbers in the story, if you actually do the math show that the average recipient was receiving $109-$117/ month in the two counties for which they were able to get actual data. You try living on $25-$30 a week in food. Also, little known fact: when you apply for SNAP, your date of eligibility may be some weeks or months prior to your application date and the date you receive benefits, so your first month’s card could have considerable “back benefits” on it. Would that add up to a balance of thousands of dollars? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Well $7000 would surprise me but $2000 sounds reasonable. The down side? Your SNAP benefits expire at the end of the month so to get the full benefit of that card, you have to find a way to spend the entire balance before the end of the month. I guess there are worse problems to have.