I Got Food Stamps and So Can You!

My recent excursion into the welfare system has left me scratching my head.  Prior to writing and researching this project, my only impression of food stamps and similar welfare programs was that the credit only worked for certain items at certain stores and that an individual had to be in a particularly dire financial situation to receive such aid.  I was wrong.

An EBT card works and looks like a debit card, but instead of the user withdrawing money from a checking account, the government prepays an amount of money it deems necessary for the user’s food expenditures.  Several of my classmates recently implemented the use of an EBT card for their groceries, and their involvement in the program immediately piqued my interest.  To be honest, my first thought was: “I wonder if I qualify for free grocery money.”  My immediate second thought was: “How do they qualify for free grocery money?”  These students come from similar financial backgrounds to mine, live in similar accomodations, and take the same amount of college credit hours that I do. Thus, my investigation began with a food stamp application, an interview request, and a trip to a place no one really wants to visit: the Department of Human Services.

I was informed by a very kind woman from the DHS that I would have to complete an interview to be considered for the program.  The next morning, I was surprised to see the long line of people that trailed outside.  When I reached the front of the line, I was informed that all of the interview spots were filled for the morning and that I’d have to call back later and complete my interview over the phone, which I did later that day.  To be considered, I needed to submit my last four paychecks, one rent receipt, one utility bill from the previous month, and verification that I was a student worker on campus.

I received a notice in the mail that the Department of Human Services had not received my employment verification and therefore could not review my case until I produced another pay receipt (which I could not produce, due to the fact that I’d only worked three weeks at my new job).  I had essentially given up at this point.  I didn’t need an EBT card; my investigation was merely an exercise in civic welfare accountability and efficiency.

Approximately one month after I had received the first letter, another letter found its way to my mailbox from the Department of Human Services.  I opened it up to find an EBT card with my name on it, instructions on how to activate and use the card, and the amount I could access on it per month — 200 dollars.  Nothing followed-up my interview, other than the evidently pointless letter I received during the previous month.   No one ever asked for a copy of my birth certificate or Social Security card, nor for my student identification card.  I answered all of their questions truthfully, but how were they to know that I was who I said I was?  Is it really this simple to obtain welfare benefits here in the United States?

It’s not hard to qualify for the program as a student and some universities even publicize food stamps to their students. For example, in Oregon, if you fall into any of the following categories, you automatically qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) program: full-time student who works at least 20 hours per week, full-time single student who is caring for children younger than the age of 12, full-time married student who is caring for children younger than the age of 6, or at least a half-time student who is actively working any hours in a work-study program (institutional or federal) can receive a certain amount of money per month from the government.  While some of these requirements are certainly understandable, the last one leaves the door open for massive amounts of unnecessary welfare spending and fraud.

Welfare in America was intended to provide a temporary means of survival for those at rock bottom.  However, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people using food stamps over the past 40 years, and it would be hard to argue that they are all that destitute.  Over that same time period, an estimated $753 million per year has been spent fraudulently by welfare recipients.  Moreover, the government’s own accounting has cost taxpayers billions of dollars per year as food stamp programs routinely overpay their recipients; last year, that figure alone totaled $2.5 billion.

That being said, the students I know who use food stamps are hard-working, productive individuals whose parents won’t compensate them for the costs of college.  Mine generally don’t either, so I get that.  By using the program, students are able to save hundreds of dollars on food so they can pay for school instead of taking out an extra loan.  I’m not discrediting that logic; I totally sympathize.

But when government starts to act as the hand that feeds its people and makes personal decisions for them, citizens lose their identities and freedoms.  Not only is the innovative, hardworking, passionate American lost because the government promotes the idea that individuals can’t do it themselves, but the individuals come to expect the handouts and riot when they are revoked.

Given my own personal experience, it is clear that food stamps are too easy to obtain, student or not.  I realize that the food stamp program is different in all states, and some are more thorough with background checks than others, but much greater reform is needed.  It concerns me that 15% of the population, or 46 million people, rely on others’ tax dollars to pay for their food.  That doesn’t sound like freedom to me.

Yes, I apparently qualify for and possess an EBT card in the state of Tennessee, but I will not activate it.  Participating in a government welfare program simply because I can would amount to an endorsement of the growing entitlement society in America.  We should always advocate smaller government.  The decision to use food stamps for my food supply would directly contradict that principle, and our government’s purpose as it was described in the Federalist Papers and U.S. Constitution would be further distorted.

Sydney Phillips // Lee University // Cleveland, Tennessee // @sydphillips



  1. Considering our current economic climate, do you wonder why 15% of Americans are receiving food stamps? The sooner our country changes its course in the leadership department, the better off we’ll all be.

  2. crousselle says:

    Well done! Excellent expose into how easy it is to get on the system.

  3. WHOSE $$ IS IN THAT EBT ACCT??? ****MINE****
    Will I EVER see my Social Security benefits (after over 25 yrs of paying into it)?? NOOOOO!!!
    So, why **shouldn’t** I take my OWN $$ BACK FROM THE GOV’T — the gov’t **I OWN** — WHILE I CAN?
    Do your research – absolutely awful work – one sided, no “other-side” mentioned…. no STATISTICS or TRUE TAXES/POLITICS mentioned, etc.
    Awful research. Seriously.
    State of WA = approximately 2 weeks to receive EBT (& other benefits) with proper interviews and proper personal info checked.
    HUGE FAIL FOR THE STATE OF TENN. (especially in the ed. system)

  4. What about corporate welfare?

  5. To the Useful Idiot that crybabied “What about Corporate Welfare?”


    Why do you ask your Messiah Obama about his Corporate Cronies at GE, GM, Goldman Sachs, Solyndra…

    You can’t question The One because you’re a Useful Idiot. Now go back to Comedy Central.

  6. Shay Mc Laughlin says:

    Apply for ANY gov’t funded program without ‘need’ is fraudulent…whether you USE that card or not, it goes on the rolls and some states have a ceiling as to how many can be on the program in that state at any given time…in other words, your card will be recinded for lack of use…making it harder for the one behind you perhaps having to wait till the rolls to go down before becoming eligible. THAT is why YOU had to wait so long to hear from them–it wasn’t immediate need! Rather than NOT use your cqard, you need to do the honorable thing and tell them you no longer (never) have/had a need for it so it free’s the funds up for someone who legitimately does! Did you check into TANF? OR Section 8 housing? Didn’t think so–just an experiment…

  7. Thanks for sharing your story….. It is good for us older readers.

    We worry what will happen to you and our grandchildren.


  8. respons;" says:

    TO: Shay Mc Laughlin, YOU have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about!! It’s almost comical. There are no “roles” or waiting lists to get on Food Stamps. I work for DHS in RI, I know. The reason why she didn’t get seen that first day is because there are only so many hours in the day and not nearly enough workers to keep up with all the social service programs. The government should try hiring more (a lot more) staff to keep up with the demand instead of just encouraging the QUICK process of applications without regard to accuracy. Shay, do your research before you comment next time!!

  9. “That being said, the students I know who use food stamps are hard-working, productive individuals whose parents “won’t compensate them for the costs of college”. ”

    I very much liked your comments for the most part.. I think the above use of the word “won’t” as opposed to either choose not to and/or cannot afford to cover the costs of College.

    One .. My Parents did what they could but it was on me to pay for my Education. They did not “owe” me that..

    Beyond attempting to provide a safe home environment, three hots a cot and some form basic education/trade skills our parents do not owe us a damn thing.

  10. imapirate502 says:

    Great job, you whiny little brat. Now someone who actually needed that $200 a month to feed their family won’t get it. But don’t let that get in the way of exposing how good the poor people in this country have it.

  11. If only it were so easy to get safe and affordable housing, help from Legal Aid when you need it, public transportation, and medical assistance the doesn’t send one spiraling into bankruptcy.

    As a taxpayer I have no issue with helping people in need, including students who, in general, often do not make nutritionally sound choices.

    As a human being I have no problem with sharing what I have. People ARE entitled. Nobody owns the planet and all of it’s resources, nor should they.

    Part of our tax dollars are allotted towards helping those in need, and need is assessed in a formulaic way. This country produces more than enough food and sells it cheap, so perhaps that’s why rules are lax. If a baby doesn’t starve due to easy enrollment, well, that’s great.

    I’d be more concerned about how much of our tax dollars go into the war fund, and how much tax money the local government supposedly funnels towards redevelopment and projects to help the underserved and homeless but don’t actually go towards those programs at all, especially in Cleveland.

    I wish I’d known about EBT when I was a student. I went weeks where I ate nothing but boxed macaroni and cheese made without the butter or milk. If I was lucky I had some kind of oil to add, but more often than not I just used water.

  12. imapirate502 says:

    Well said, Hannah. Since the author’s parents apparently do not pay her nearly $17,000 annual tuition at Lee University (a Christian school, BTW), she must know how hard it is to earn a living in the real world, and what it’s like to go without day to day just so your children can eat. It’s good that she’s exposing the system. The 16.1% of the population of Cleveland, TN, who live below the poverty line have it far too easy. We should make them jump through more legal hoops to get assistance, even if that hinders precious time to search for a job. Further, did you know that some of them even have luxiries, like a TV or even refrigerators? How about we make them sell off their belongings, maybe then they can afford to feed their children. After all $200 a month is a fortune. This country needs to get its priorities straight. We have more B-12 bombers to buy.

  13. I wonder if she considered what happens after college, when many students get good paying jobs that are taxed and the food stamp money gets paid back into the system over time and used to help needy students in the next few classes.

  14. “Melissa E. (@DreadfulPenny81) says:
    January 16, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Considering our current economic climate, do you wonder why 15% of Americans are receiving food stamps? The sooner our country changes its course in the leadership department, the better off we’ll all be.”

    Melissa, considering how many people are receiving food stamps, do you wonder why our current economic climate is as it is?

  15. Retired Vet says:

    I’m a former conservative, turned centrist due to the overwhelming lack of compassion from the right. Your blog doesn’t even make sense.

    “By using the program, students are able to save hundreds of dollars on food so they can pay for school instead of taking out an extra loan. I’m not discrediting that logic; I totally sympathize.
    But when government starts to act as the hand that feeds its people and makes personal decisions for them, citizens lose their identities and freedoms. ”

    You present a logical and socially productive justification for food stamps – temporary assistance for students so they can better themselves and someday not need them. Then you completely forget this and claim that the very existence of the program jeopardizes American values.

    Food stamps fill a need in this country. I fervently wish the need wasn’t there, but as Jesus said “the poor will be with you always.” We can limit that need by improving access to jobs and affordable housing in this country. But those who should be creating jobs are closing factories here to move jobs overseas. The rich fueled the housing boom which put the cost of a house outside many people’s price ranges, then the crash decimated millions. Who can and will step in to help people in the aftermath? Churches? When I see churches stop building huge facilities and spend that money on the poor, then I may join you in saying my tax dollars should be given back.

  16. Ms. Phillips,

    If your second thought was “How do they qualify for free grocery money?” Why didn’t you just ask them? How can you know what their private financial situation is and what makes you so sure it’s the same as yours?

    Some students have parents helping them with food and rent, but many do not.

    The fact that you couldn’t produce all of the pay stubs that the Department of Human Services required, to DHS, probably seemed like proof of a lack of funds. They could verify your job by calling. It’s likely they encounter this issue often amongst the poor.

    You applied for something you didn’t need and will not use. You were eligible. Because you, with your full stomach, your job, and your education are sure you are never going to need food stamps you feel qualified to report on the government waste occurring?

    Are you paying your own tuition, your own rent, and for your own groceries with no parental back-up or help from anyone? If so, how? You’ve been working only three weeks, correct?

    Is it safe to assume you are using the “safety net” of family (which not everyone is lucky enough to have.) Is family your back-up despite the fact that this hand-out might infringe upon your freedoms? (ie. your mom might ask about your grades as the DHS office might ask to see proof that you are enrolled in school.)

    You got your EBT card, which you applied for truthfully, in four weeks. You assert this was “too easy.”

    Four weeks, to an actual hungry person, is a long time. To you, it may have seemed “easy” to get that EBT card. What if you hadn’t eaten in those four weeks? Do an experiment. Go all day today eating nothing. How long is four weeks now? Still seem easy?

    If so, go the next twenty-eight days with no food.

  17. While qualifications differ from state to state, it does appear they make the standards way to easy to fill. Hearing about the people putting in that effort to stand in a line just to get an EBT card a month later has me wondering why they don’t stand in such lines for better paying jobs.

    When the new Super-Walmart opened in my town, there were lines for applications and interviews. But the numbers were lower than expected.

    Believe it or not, I know somebody who refused to go for a job there because she feared the starting pay would be too much and she’d lose her EBT qualification. This woman works at a McDonald’s and has for years. She has refused promotions and refuses overtime. She was told that Walmart would start her at $1 more an hour and she’d get benefits after 90 days. To her, it was not worth it to pursue and lose her hand-out.

    I’m not sure the benefits and raise in pay would have disqualified her, either.

    I agree that some people need that assistance. It should be for a limited time period for all but those who simply cannot work. A friend of mine and I agree on a great way to run the program, but disagree on the time period. I like 24 months max. with a 12 month extension in extreme circumstances. It should include mandatory vocational training. With telecommuting availability in this day and age, even single parents can work from home and avoid childcare costs for most days.

    However, a certain political demographic wants people dependent upon food and housing subsidies. It keeps them enslaved to government systems. It keeps those people under government’s thumb. In doing so, it buys the votes of those under those programs, making loyal voters through fear of those subsidies going away.

    The thing that should scare people is that it isn’t just those subsidies to the poor and unemployed that are used by that political demographic. They also use commercial subsidies to what should be private business.

  18. Phillipclay says:

    In reading these responses to the post, all I can say is WOW! It continually amazes me that some folks insist on hearing PART of the communication. Especially when someone who disagrees with their views has the audacity to speak up. It’s really no wonder that most folks just stick their head in the sand and don’t address such issues forthrightly as this college writer has done. Instead of screaming at her, perhaps you should READ the entire article. The author clearly noted that she did NOT activate the card, therefore no money was allocated, and no starving children were harmed as a result of this article. If you will actually READ the article, you will glean from it the author’s advocacy for self-reliance, hard work, reenforcement for making good decisions, and her advocacy for a system that rewards these things which made our country great.

    I know what I’m talking about too. When I turned 18, I received a handshake and a $100 bill – that was the last time ANYBODY (including the government) helped me…and I have never once asked for a handout from anyone. Today I own and run a large company providing 320+ jobs which directly feed over 1000 people. How did that happen? By hard work and sheer perserverance. When everybody else was home watching Homer Simpson or playing Agry Birds on their iPhones, I was WORKING – everyday, every weekend, and MOST nights too. More importantly we built this company to what it is today DESPITE the constant government interference and regulations that I choke on every day. In this country, there absolutely NO reason for someone to not be able to feed their family if they work hard enough, and there certainly is no reason for a system to exist that even allows a college student to apply for food stamps. If a college student doesn’t like their mac and cheese diet, then they can get a JOB just like this young lady has done, and PAY for it. Simply put, our system rewards people for NOT working hard and that is WRONG.

    This author of this article is the type of American we can be proud of…she’s not someone walking around thinking somebody owes her something…she’s out there earning it EVERY DAY. Just like I did. Oh, and by the way, I personally pay over $50,000 in TAXES to the IRS every year so don’t you dare tell me I have no right to comment on these issues. 68% of the jobs in America are created by people just like me and our current system is choking us out. And when all the small business people in this country get choked out, who is going to pay for your benefits then??

  19. Phillipclay,

    I pay taxes, and I work, and I also have been a student.

    While I was a student, I had a job. I did not receive public assistance, but I would have been eligible.

    If my tax dollars can prevent students going hungry, I do not have a problem with that. Why do you?

    It seems YOU didn’t read her article. This author does get help from her parents. Even YOU got a hundred dollars and a handshake.

    Some people get nothing, and it’s hard to start when you are starting from a disadvantaged point. If we, the community surrounding these students, can make their lives a little easier, I am all for that.

    It’s easier to concentrate on school without a growling stomach.

    The author says EBT cards are too easy to get. I assert that four weeks of waiting is NOT too easy when one is hungry and in need. The author wasn’t hungry. if she were, she wouldn’t have been able to forget about it in the interim.

    “Hard work” is easier to perform if one is not hungry.

    It’s great that you were able to get ahead with your hundred dollars and your handshake, but everyone isn’t you and each situation needs to be assessed differently.

    The fact that you say that in this country there is absolutely no reason for someone not to be able to feed their family as long as they work hard makes me think you’re very young and inexperienced. The very hardest working people are often the poorest.

    That’s a different conversation, though.

    To stick to the topic, this woman applied for and was eligible for foodstamps that she didn’t need and which she claims were too easy to get.

    I reiterate: waiting four weeks is a long time to a hungry person. This article wasn’t about “working hard.” It was about government waste, but in this case it does not prove government waste.

  20. imapirate502 says:

    That’s a pretty simplistic world view there, Phillip. Cleveland, TN isn’t too far away from Appalachia. I suggest you and the author of this overly-simplistic, poor excuse for an experiment take a drive north from Lee U’s campus, up in eastern TN and KY. See what real poverty looks like. Maybe you can ask some folks up there why they’re lazy and don’t start their own businesses?

  21. kreagantcc says:

    Hannah, you’re missing the greater point. One of the points of the article, as you noted, was government waste. You also noted that the author didn’t need the benefit. The fact that she was approved is the problem. She was not hungry in the four weeks that her application was being reviewed, nor was she going to be. You said that you would have qualified for benefits while you were a student, but you never applied. Why is that? I would speculate that you weren’t hungry either. The point implied in this article is that the system failed to evaluate true need. The author’s application should have been denied.

  22. Phillipclay says:

    Hannah and imapirate502…my world view was developed after living 52 years on this earth, having served 7 years in the military reserves, and raising 4 awesome kids to adulthood. You obviously have biased axes to grind and care very little to see anything outside of your personal agendas.

    I KNOW what poverty is, I’ve LIVED it – mostly here in Tennessee. And during that entire time it never once occurred to me to stick my hand out and wait from someone to put something in it. I HAVE gone from house to house asking for odd jobs, I HAVE washed dishes until the skin on my hands nearly fell off, and I HAVE known what it is like to survive for weeks at a time on just 3 hours sleep. Not because I was occupying some stupid park somewhere, but because I was WORKING. The point of this entire conversation is that our system is BROKEN and needs to be fixed. And just for the record, I resent your condecending attitudes. You know aboslutlely nothing about me or this author and yet you stand on your stump and scream insults. That is the height of narrow mindedness.

    For my part, this conversation is ended…I have to get back to work, so I can make money, so I can pay taxes, so YOU can have the priviledge of FREE SPEECH.

  23. Kreagantcc,
    The author didn’t need the benefit because she has parents as back-up. That’s not the case with everyone.
    Government has tremendous problems with waste. I don’t agree that the EBT program is one of them, in THIS case.
    I didn’t apply as a student because I wasn’t aware that I had the option. I basically lived on noodles and flavor packets. I don’t recommend this.

    I have no biased ax to grind. I’m sorry if I sounded condescending.
    I agree the system is broken and needs fixing, but I think the girl who wrote this article is wrong to condemn the foodstamp program based on this particular experiment.
    Having experienced hunger and poverty myself I am inclined not to begrudge others.
    It can be very hard to lift oneself up from a low place, especially with no support.
    If the government is able to help hungry students with my tax dollars, I am not going to complain about that.
    Many times in my life I’ve worked more than one job at a time, survived on no sleep and on little food.
    That’s WHY I don’t mind reaching out a hand to help others in need.

    Better to offer help now than when it’s too late and they are too far gone for it to make a difference. I think we should help people before they hit rock bottom, actually.

    It’s interesting how two people surviving a similar hardships turns one empathetic and another hard-hearted.

  24. Phillipclay says:

    If taking a hard advocacy for self-reliance and personal responsibility is being “hard-hearted” then I’ll proudly accept that moniker.

  25. imapirate502 says:

    Well let’s all thank God that Phillipclay pays his taxes; otherwise we might not have the freedom to post opinions on the internet. Further, good to know free speech is not only a tax-funded venture, but it’s also now a privelege rather than a Constitutionally-protected right. As far as axes to grind, I’ll admit I have one. It’s about the Right’s inability to feel any empathy at all for their fellow man, and their brazen narcissism that accompanies it – “I’ve got mine and you can go to Hell” – that sort of attitude. Phillipclay started his own business, so in his mind, he will always be better than the poor because, in his mind, everyone starts from the same beginning; everyone is afforded the exact same opportunities to succeed in life. And if they don’t take advantage of those opportunities, then they suck at life and Phillip wins again. If they become poor, or sick, it was their own fault for not planning on these things happening, and to help those people would be to teach them that personal responsibility is no longer needed, and we can’t have people thinking that. Of course, reality is in no way reflective of this mindset, but it is what it is. The author of the article goes to a Christian university. I wonder what Christ would have to say about this article.

  26. When I was hungry in a tourist town that hadn’t seen snow enough to open the ski resorts that drove the local economy, I was able to get help from a local church. The reason I was hungry was because I made poor decisions and although it was a hard time, I am glad it was hard. It forced me to make changes in my life. If it had been easy, I would have kept making the same dumb mistakes. Being hungry made me take getting a job much more seriously. Being hungry kept me from using a broke-down car as an excuse for not looking at jobs in the next town. Being hungry made me walk in lousy shoes for miles on slushy roads and gave me the stamina to check EVERY SINGLE PLACE in the that town for a job. Which is why I got a job and little by little turned things around.
    I hear how we should use tax dollars to qualify students for food stamps to make it ‘easier’ for students. Making life ‘easier’ is a misguided use of tax money. It sounds good until you realize that it is all the hard times that give most of us the life experience that makes us better people in the future. It’s always fascinating listening to Hollywood liberals talk about the hard times many of them went through, and even often sight those hard times as shaping them into the very people that could and did become enormously successful, and then, without skipping a beat, talk about how we should use government to make life easy for everyone. Making it easy for people is synonymous with TAKING the pride, ambition, perseverance and the best life lessons FROM them. As individuals, we should help people, but government is always a STUPID way to do it and this article points out some of those flaws.
    Now, what would REALLY make it EASIER for the students would be for the government to get the H out of college completely. It is government ‘helping people’ that has driven college rates to an extreme cost. Before government decided that everyone should go to college, regardless of how ridiculously unmarketable a person’s major might be, college WAS affordable for nearly anyone with a part time job and some ambition. Imagine if students didn’t have to mortgage their futures and waste their money on terribly overpriced books. Maybe then they could find it ‘easier’ to eat. Instead, our government has driven the cost of college through the roof and helped create a corrupt system that will inevitably have us ‘bailing out’ all students loans, resulting in more taxes that will make it harder for business that will provide fewer opportunities for the everyone. All in the name of ‘helping’ and ‘investing’ in people. The people complaining about the author of this article appear to see government as being perfectly suited for ‘helping’ with so many things, but unfortunately, government ‘help’ ALWAYS makes things worse? And government investing is the same thing as government wasting.

  27. Imapirate,

    Lee is a private university. How is the government causing Lee to charge so much for textbooks that kids can’t afford to eat?

    I personally went to a state school and textbooks that costs sixty dollars used could be sold back to the school for ten dollars. I forgot about that, and I had no idea that was our governments doing.

    Isn’t that “price gauging?” If so, isn’t that illegal, according to our government?

    You have a point, there, though. Regardless of WHY ten dollar textbooks are costing kids sixty…why are we letting the schools get away with that?

    If I hadn’t been spending so much on books I probably could’ve afforded a vegetable here and there when I was in school.

  28. imapirate502 says:

    Hannah I think your comments were supposed to be directed at tearoy. If I’m wrong, I apologize.

  29. imapirate502:
    1) You do NOT have a constitutional right to post on this blog, you have the right given to you by the conservative that wrote it. You DO have a RIGHT to write your own, but after listening to your rant, I doubt you have anything worth saying. You DO have a right, as Phillipclay does, to be offended and to offend others. Cheers!
    2) The ‘right’ in this nation are far more adept at feeling empathy for their fellow man because they, unlike you, actually expect to use their own resources to help their fellow man. You prefer to ‘take it’ from others and then proclaim how pious you are for stealing it. A sure sign of narcissism if I ever saw one. And maybe you can look up what Christ says about theives when you have time.
    3)Re: ‘I’ve got mine and you can go to Hell’. Phillipclay is helping 320 people stay out of poverty, not by stealing from someone else, like you prefer, but by providing a job, an opportunity and chance EARN their way through life, and although it doesn’t necessarily make him better than someone in poverty, I bet it does make him better than you.
    4)Christ told individuals to help the poor and the widows. The Apostle Paul said 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”. Being arrogant, you think you know better than God, who never commanded, recommended nor hinted that we should help the needy, through a wasteful government agency. Perhaps, you should take some time and READ the bible for yourself. It will help you to relieve yourself from some of that unwarranted self-righteous ego of yours.
    5)Finally, ”reality is in no way reflective of this mindset”. As usual, liberals can’t make reasonable arguments, without setting up a straw man, first. Nobody on this blog wrote anything that should make anyone believe that they have that mindset. The ax you have been grinding has been ground to the stump and should be tossed in the garbage.

  30. Hannah
    Good comment. Government effects how ALL universities function, because they regulate most of them through their requirements to receive gov funding and their students receive gov backed loans and grants etc. Because those requirements inflate the cost of nearly all colleges, the ones that do not fall under those requirements have to compete for professors and faculty to hire. Also, the private universities, no longer have to compete as hard in order to be priced competitively. Ask yourself, why did college costs begin to soar at nearly parallel levels, as gov added more and more grants, backed more and more student loans and funded more and more state colleges. What explanation do you have? I read a study on this just recently. I will try to find it and post it, later.
    Thank you

  31. Kudos to you and the rest of your fine publication! It’s indeed refreshing to see that young people are getting involved in the conservative movement! It shows that not all conservatives are stodgy, old, cigar smoking, hard drinking politicos sitting in smoke filled rooms spewing out old beat-up cliches!
    And from a personal point of view, my retired uncle and aunt, living on a fixed income, can’t get assistance because they are $4.00 over the income guidelines… Thanks to the efforts of the children they raised, they are not destitute, but it burns me up that the DHHS can “help” illegal aliens, who have never paid a cent in taxes, but refuse these people, who worked hard all of their lives and in doing so, paid for so many of these people who don’t deserve it at all, any help!
    And don’t get me started on the Social Security Administration!
    But I digress… once again, it’s heartening to see people such as yourselves involved in this struggle to get back to the Constitutional basics!

  32. Bob Level says:

    Foodstamps..For kids in COLLEGE…smh.

  33. Phillipclay says:

    imapirate502: you twist my words beyond all recognition. I never once uttered a word that even imaginatively came close to saying “I’ve got mine and you can go to Hell.” Obviuosly you are an angry person, using a privately paid for venue to spew your venom on whomever is standing close by.

    My whole point was simply this: we live in a country where opportunities abound, where an individual through personal industriousness can raise themselves up to whatever level they aspire. The only barriers to that are those that we create in our own minds. Yet our government has willfully dibilitated a large segment of our population for the simple benefit of expanding their person political power. However you paint that, it is still an ugly mess that leaves us in an untenable fiscal position for generations. Apparently you dislike me and want to call me names simply because I choose not to sit on the sofa and wait for help. But I’m sure you see that as somehow all my fault too.

  34. Imapirate,
    You’re right. I meant my overpriced books comment towards Tearoy. Sorry.

    Here’s a curious situation that makes it seem to me that the EBT benefit is too difficult (rather than too easy) to get:

    A friend of mine recently had to have emergency surgery.

    Afterwards, he applied for benefits, unsure how he would survive during recovery. He was turned down for EBT and for help with utilities due to making too much money (but he would not be making money during his recovery from surgery, three-four months during which he absolutely could not work. Not an option.)

    The surgery was a bypass, and was nothing he brought on himself by bad diet or lack of exercise. This person is athletic, has just completed the PS90 training series, and eats a largely vegetarian diet. Yet because of a fluke of his (young) body, he needed emergency open heart surgery.

    He had no savings left due to his deductibles on his insurance having had to be met. He didn’t have family as a safety net. His temporary disability has not yet been approved and it’s been four months.

    Working hard (or at all) in this case was not an option. Why weren’t the foodstamps approved for him?

    The surgery was not elective. He would have died without it. I would gladly allow my tax dollars help him, and I wish fervently that they would have. Why am I paying into these programs if not to help catch people who fall on hard times through no fault of their own?

    I’m left wondering why it was so easy for this student who didn’t need it and why it wasn’t possible for a sick man with a clear case of need to get EBT benefits.

    I’m wondering what PhillipClay would suggest a person do in that debilitating situation, and I also wonder what he did when his four kids went to school…did they also get the hundred dollars and the handshake and not another penny? Did all of his kids leave home the day they turned eighteen, never to return? Or did he help them out on occasion?

    Also, PhillipClay, I had a job in college, and I still couldn’t afford more than noodles ninety-nine percent of the time. I repeat, if you have no back-up or support system, it’s difficult to eat, pay rent, work, and get your course work done, too, and to do it all well. I didn’t take a hand-out when I was in school but if I were to talk to somebody who was in the same situation I was in back then, I would encourage them to do so. If it is possible to ease somebody’s burdon, I don’t have a problem with that.

    Just because I suffered I should want everyone to suffer? It makes no sense to have that attitude. It didn’t make me stronger or smarter or tougher. It just made me hungry and distracted and malnourished.

  35. Bertha Millard says:

    Thank you Sydney Phillips for writing this column. It is so sad to see how many people are looking for a “free handout” on the backs of their fellow American citizens. We have 47% of the citizens pay no income tax at all while the other 53% have to carry the burden. Our country has turned into a giant “I want what everyone else has” attitude. I want a house, car, tv, clothes, shoes like that and I am going to get it from the government and I don’t care what the government takes it from you just as long as I get mine! Where in the world is this this coming from? Is it from their peers, the schools, the elected officials? This kind of class warfare has got to stop or it will destroy our country.
    God help us.

  36. Steve Adams21 says:

    Great post!

    Not only do taxpayers have to subsidize the universally overpriced college eduation system we have to feed people that are perfectly able to work and feed themselves.

    New college motto: ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you.

    I wonder if Sydney’s college experience helped her understand this or if this insight is in spite of her college education.

  37. “Apply for ANY gov’t funded program without ‘need’ is fraudulent…”
    OUR WHOLE GOVT IS A FRAUD —- why don’t you turn to them and get your $$ while you can, before it’s doled out to yet another loser who chooses to sit on his butt & play vid games & make babies instead of WORKING FOR A LIVING and paying into A FRAUDULENT SYSTEM that I’ve had the gov’t steal from MY PAYCHECK to support for 25+ yrs…….
    This has been going on since FDR – those Libs and goody goods crying foul — DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!

  38. btw: if the girl and her friends GOT THE EBT CARDS …. they didn’t commit fraud (not in the manner she’s described)…… THE GOVT COMMITTED FRAUD.

  39. “…The government should try hiring more (a lot more) staff to keep up with the demand instead of just encouraging the QUICK process of applications without regard to accuracy…”

    I can’t believe a gov’t employee posted this — UNDOUBTEDLY AN OBAMA LOVER AND DRINKER OF THE KOOL-AID. Just trying to keep your job, gov’t employee???? The socialist/communists FORGET WHO YOU ARE when all is said and done. You think it’s bad now?? Pfffftt……yeah GROW THAT GOV’T FURTHER, see where that’s gotten us already??!!!
    Get your head out of the sand!!!

  40. maxredlines says:

    imapirate502: you may not, in real life, be a pirate. You are, however, a real-life idiot.

  41. Hanna, you seem totally sincere, however, your comment cracks me up.
    You just illustrated how, while many people that have little or no need for food stamps, your friend that did need it went without. Your solution? A quick jaunt around the elephant in the room and the answer is…More of it… LOL. It’s exactly how it always works. Really, this is one of the reasons that government programs can never, and have never been efficient means to ‘help’ the societies they serve no matter what government, no matter how well intentioned. It is inherent that all government programs ultimately end up fraught with massive fraud. And the solution is always more, because it never solves the problem, but creates new ones. As it misallocates the hard earned resources of its citizens, it builds a bureaucracy of paper pushers that become ‘indispensable’ and find all kinds of creative ways to offer more and more ‘help’, creating more and more waste and fraud. It’s a never ending cycle. Well, until it collapses on itself like is happening in Europe and is about to happen here.
    Private charity does these kinds of things much better and when they don’t, private individuals like me put my hard earned money to better use with another charity.
    Hanna, there would be no ‘conservatives’ if anyone really believed that gov was even capable of performing the simplest task without screwing it up. Just a brief history lesson, before I go. Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, once vetoed a bill, pass by both house and senate, for $10,000 to help Texas farmers ravaged by whether conditions, because he did not see it as constitutional. He instead, encouraged everyone to give of their own money. And give they did, Texas ended up receiving around $100,000 from Americans that were HAPPY to help. I wonder how many of those people would have decided not to give if they had assumed that big gov was going to do it for them, if Cleveland had signed that bill. Anyway, I bet the people that gave that money felt GREAT about giving it, because they did it with their hearts, not but force of gov. I also bet it was administered with considerably less fraud, because the people that were involved knew the people they were helping and the people they gave their hard earned money. It makes all the difference.

  42. I cannot believe how many people here are blaming you, the author, instead of recognizing the larger problem here. Unbelievable…and yet it happens all the time. Did you know you could use that card to buy pizza? Chips? Good stuff for Friday night. Absolutely ridiculous waste of our tax dollars.

  43. I’m a centrist, but as that goes describe myself as a welfare hawk. This does not bother me that much actually. I think anyone whose a student getting any government aid ought to meet a GPA requirement of, what’s good enough, say 2.5, i.e., C+/B-, but otherwise, I don’t gnash my teeth in rage over student-workers getting $200/month for food so they can be less stressed when studying and working. Note, worse than a 2.5 GPA means you are not scholarship material for now (my taxes as your aid I mean). Time to quit, work in the rat race for a year or two to establish or restore your motivation, then go back to school, at first anyway, on your own earnings and re-apply for my taxes as assistance.

  44. I think before not using the SNAP money you should ask your parents if it would help them out financially to not have to pay for your food. As a student, I doubt you know the details of THEIR finances.

  45. What about corporate welfare?

    You can use that EBT card to buy Coke, Pepsi, Doritos, Haagen-Dazs—food stamps ARE corporate welfare.

  46. Let me see if I understand the point of the people complaining about this article. Since there are some people who need assistance with buying food, the fact that ANYONE who can figure out how to fill out a form can get them no matter if they need them or not isn’t relevant.. And to even suggest that one can get food stamps without any documentation of need is bad. Cause some people need food stamps. Ok then.

  47. I do find it interesting how willing other people are to reach out my hand to others in need, and claim it as their own charity.

    The means create the ends.

  48. Hanna, you are very compassionate when it is other’s tax dollars that will be spent. To me that is very cheap compassion. You should not feel so superior to others just because you are willing to take from those with more and give to those who might or might not have less. You are still taking from others, not using your own money, so you are not really giving up anything. Shame on you for calling others hard-hearted. At least they aren’t a selfish fool.

  49. I consider myself a liberal and think Sidney wrote a heartfelt, excellent, and cogent article. Her focus was on government efficiency and human initiative. She is concerned about bureaucracy, efficiency, and waste. Notice that not once did she condemn her fellow students who used food stamps and she praised them for their perseverance. And she did not activate a card which she was technically not suppose to get in the first place (due to lack of paperwork). Sidney also highlights her work with evidence, so why are her detractors so venal?

    Those who condemn Ms. Phillips rather than just to disagree have internal issues where everyone must walk and talk in lockstep or they are evil. That’s been a growing issue over the years with both liberal and conservative ideologies.

  50. I am a single mother of 3 with an ex husband who is a deadbeat dad (yep my mistake I own it) who of course pays nothing in child support, at least willingly. I have an EBT card and it makes ends meet for us, not sure what we’d do without it.

    I am not in Tennessee so it may be different in my state. Here child support enforcement garnishes my ex husbands tax returns (when they can find him) to pay back our social service benefits. They take his money (and all deadbeats we are talking about millions) they hold it in a high yield interest savings account for 6 months while it builds then they pay back the state DHS with more. I had to pay $100 (that’s also in the account ) to enroll in this service at child support services but it helps pay back they money we use and helps collect court ordered child support he wont pay me but they have the means to collect. Every single mother needed to pay the $100 and get this going.

    Next I do think they could reform the system to save or provide other much needed services. When I first got the EBT I got $300 and that was enough Obummer made some deal and now I get $387 a month this is 4 people eating. I never asked for more and when I called they said it’s based on income. Even if you don’t need it they cant just give you less its all automated. $200 for one student seems like a lot $100 should be enough for a student. I am a coupon freak I could probably do it on $250 a month eating cup o noodles and mac n cheese. I think they should make people use coupons!!! In stead of buying lobster and steak I have managed to stock pile some extra stuff just in case… after all it is 2012. It does bother me when other people are buying pop, candy, lobster and fancy over the top stuff on food stamps… I pay taxes too. I’d also like to see drug test I’d be glad to take one. That would cut off a huge number of people.

    I blame our grandmothers, the bra burners, they ruined the family structure in our country. They decided girls should get jobs (as if being a mother is not a job) now we don’t have enough jobs to go around. Thus leading to us girls not needing men, and men thinking we don’t need them. However 9.9 million single mothers not receiving help from fathers are ALL on gov aid. 48% of children are born to unmarried mothers that’s almost 1/2 . This is up 60% from the 70’s. Guess what we don’t need men we just need uncle Sam! So the real problem is…. We live in a family-less reality, people used to take care of each other and work hard to feed a family together. It takes 2 people to make a child and God did that for a reason!!

  51. says:

    Do you have any idea how much in taxes you will pay over your life time? Do you have any idea how much you will pay in social security taxes, not for your benefit but for the benefit of people who are already retired?

    If the government was run effectively and efficiently your attitude would be commendable. But in reality the government will take plenty from you in the future and waste it on politicians, their cronies, political favors, pork, favors to corporations in return for campaign support, etc, etc. You should accept what you are legally entitled to.

  52. Local talk show host likes to point out how easy it is to get benefits (voting bribe basically) versus getting a building permit and getting people employed. I personally don’t understand why the welfare and IRS are separate, they are both concerned with income. Unless you think I am totally heartless, I feel that each adult should not have the first $10k of their car not counted. Rural poverty sucks and so do buses. Also I feel that welfare should only penalize one dollar for each dollar earned, no matter how many programs they participate in.

    Chapter – It’s Free Swipe Yo EBT (NSFW)

  53. william Dechert says:

    Fantastic article. Extremely well reasoned. Please fkorward your future work to me.

  54. I was surprised to see the long line of people that trailed outside.

    If you weren’t a college student I’d say I was surprised by you naivete. There is a substantial segment of the US population that considers the use of other people’s money (OPM) an entitlement and they ar e100% Obama supporters/

  55. As an experiment, you should organize as many like minded individuals as possible, apply for benefits, and donate all the proceeds to charity. Document your receipts, expenditures, and findings and write a research paper or film a documentary.

  56. This is enlightening:

  57. How many of the people receiving this “free money” are illegal aliens?

    Once upon a time I assumed, naively as it turns out, that government agencies verified the citizenship of people coming to them as a matter of course, if not law. Then I saw the way that the left responded to our (Arizona’s) efforts to ensure the integrity of our elections by requiring state issued ID when registering to vote and when requesting a ballot on election day. Apparently expecting someone to be a normal citizen with valid ID is now “racism” according to them. Since when was valid ID only given to crackers?

    The truth of course is that such efforts prevent leftist operatives from perpetrating voter fraud. Some zombies, that is to say dead people recently buried in nearby cemeteries, are apparently so civic minded that they leave their graves on election day and shamble into a polling place to vote. Or at least that is one explanation for the casting of ballots, sometimes hundreds of them, by the deceased in virtually every election. Another explanation, and the one I think more likely, is that leftist operatives scour the obituaries and other public sources for information on the recently deceased, compare that to the publicly available rolls for registered voters, and then send people in to vote in that person’s name.

    I know this is somewhat off topic to the matter of food stamps, but it demonstrates just how vulnerable our public institutions are to fraud of this sort.

  58. Troll Feeder says:


    Several times you wrote things like this, “That’s WHY I don’t mind reaching out a hand to help others in need.”

    Fine. Reach out your own hand however much you want.

    But when you advocate spending tax dollars on your favored handouts, you are advocating forcing other people to reach out their hands to help others in “need”.

    Taxes aren’t charity. They are confiscation. At least begging for charity recognizes that the fault lies with you, and that the donor has the final say in whether to give. Anyone who demands charity as their just due is a thief, and deserves the contempt they get.

  59. Troll Feeder says:

    Hannah says:
    January 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    “It didn’t make me stronger or smarter or tougher.”

    In this we do find something on which we can agree.

  60. Could somebody make these folks learn a little common sense with their foodstamps, teach them aboutusing coupons and shoping at supermarkets instead of convience stores. I just watcheda girl shopping at 7-11. I could havebought 10 times the food with couponsat a supermarket as she carried out of the store for $80.00 and loaded intothe taxithat sat with meter running while she shopped.

  61. Amazing how many people are upset with what this young lady did.
    She showed how cavalier the government is with your tax dollars. She showed that the standards to get a welfare benefit are entirely too low. And yet, some folks are very upset about that.

    I wonder why?

  62. Tim Orris says:
    January 17, 2012 at 11:12 am

    “Could somebody make these folks learn a little common sense with their foodstamps, teach them aboutusing coupons and shoping at supermarkets instead of convience stores. I just watcheda girl shopping at 7-11. I could havebought 10 times the food with couponsat a supermarket as she carried out of the store for $80.00 and loaded intothe taxithat sat with meter running while she shopped.”

    What you are describing is sadly all too typical of the losing class.

    While in college, I once worked part time at a 7-11 on the edge of a bad section of town. There was a grocery store not even a quarter mile up the street, and yet the food stamp people would shamble in from the nearby slum to purchase things like chips and doughnuts instead of spending that money wisely on nutritious food. They also had a scam routine which allowed them to use their food stamps to buy cigarrettes and beer. This was back in the days when food stamps were actually printed on paper. Back in those days food stamps were used as actual currency, but only for food. If they gave me a ten dollar food stamp for a 6 dollar item, I would give them back 4 one-dollar food stamps. But what about change for items where the cost was not exact dollars? This is where things got interesting. Actual coin money would be given back in such cases. This became the basis for the scam. The welfare people would send in their kids during the day to purchase bazooka bubble gum at 5 cents a piece. Then at the end of the day the parents would show up with a pocket full of change to buy cigarrettes or beer. Every. Single. Day.

    If they put that much thought and creativity into improving their circumstances, they wouldn’t be on welfare.

    They were also huge consumers of lottery tickets, “scratchers,” and other such instruments of regressive taxation on the unintelligent. I would try to talk to them, to reason with them, to explain that they were giving away their money for nothing, and that any payout they ever recieved would pale in comparison with the sums spent to obtain it. But of course they were unable to understand what I was talking about and often cited a friend, a relative, or a distant acquaintance who supposedly won a large sum. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in economics to realize that a state sponsored lottery is not a charity. Like all forms of gambling, over the long run the player always sacrifices far more than he ever receives.

    So why do such people exist in the first place? Because intelligence, and one might even argue sentience in the case of some people, are not universal attributes of the human condition. Some people are dramatically impaired intellectually. They tend to congregate together in places where more normal people do not want to live, creating a synergy of stupidity in which they are far dumber in aggregate than any of them would be individually.

    If there were some magical way of preventing individuals in the lowest quartile for intelligence and achievement from reproducing, then such individuals might cease to exist within two or three generations. At the very least they would be exceedingly rare.

    But there is no way to do this, at least not within a free society. We cannot pick and choose which individuals have the right to liberty, which includes the liberty to have children. The burden of liberty is that it belongs to all, or it belongs to none. There is no in-between.

    That does not however mean that we have a moral obligation to support them financially. Paying idiots and losers to breed in lieu of finding gainful employment only guarantees that there will be more idiots and losers in the future.

  63. It’s good to see the prevailing attitude is not that of the hard-hearted who think all issues can be solved with “hard work.”

  64. Single mom says:

    You’re lying. I had to have 2 forms of ID.

  65. Single mom says:

    Also, I’m reporting you because what you did was a federal offense.

  66. One thing people are missing here is that this is a recent development: one of the first things the Obama administration did when it took office was to ‘encourage’ the states to give food stamps to college students. Before that, it wasnt nearly as prevalent. Many states, like Michigan, have since worked to close this gaping hole in the system. A true conservative knows that a college education is NOT a right-and if you forgo a job to attend college, you can expect things to be very, very tight. If you dont want to take out loans, then you have to drop out long enough to earn the money to return. A great many parents do not have the money to support a college education for their children: that’s just a sad fact of life.Most of these kids weren’t eligible under the old rules-and arent again in many places.

    As for the ‘ease’ of getting food stamps, that’s not exactly true either. It all depends on your classification-where you fit within the system. If you are homeless, you can qualify. If you have NO income, you can qualify. If you work, however, no matter how little you earn or how many mouths you have to feed, you will jump thru unbelievably redundant hoops and be given some silly amount like $14/mo.A for instance’-which I have personal knowledge of: a 45-yr-old woman has a disabled (doesnt qualify for disability) husband, two young teens at home and a ‘returned’ 23-yr-old daughter with two young toddlers, one of which has congenital medical issues that require diligent attention to diet, feeding times, etc. She makes $11/hr-and works 6 days to get the hours. The 23-yr old has mental health issues and is incapable of caring for her own children and not functional at this point to do much of anything except find a man and get pregnant . .two worthless baby-daddies have been left behind. The grandparents have had the major care of the toddlers since birth, yet they do not have custody because to attempt to do so would open the door for the baby-daddies to counter-sue for custody . .and at least one of them would do so.Their claim to the child would be weighed against the mother’s abilities only-NOT the care and stable home the grandparents have provided. Because the 23-yr-old has been cut off assistance due to failure to comply (ie: get a job, make baby-daddies pay support), the responsibility of feeding, housing and clothing seven people falls to the $11/hr grandmother. If Grandpa could find a job-and they only have one car and no available public transportation- child care costs would be more than he could be expected to make as he has only retail skills-and the young teen girls would be left alone after school with a 23-yr -old who doesnt show much evidence of having good judgement as their only supervision So he cares for children and attempts to keep a rather chaotic and vastly over-crowded home together. The adults have no health insurance despite both having chronic health problems.
    Here’s the really stupid-and self-defeating part: although the 23-yr-old is now compliant with welfare rules, she cannot receive food stamps for the toddlers because she is under the age of 25 and lives with her parents. The grandparents cannot receive food stamps because they dont have legal custody of the toddlers and their income is considered sufficient for the four people welfare counts as being in the household. They struggle to pay their electricity and heating bills and the small land contract payment on their very small old house (cheaper than rent). Car expenses to drive back and forth to work 20 miles away are not allowable at a realistic rate so those expenses are not reflected in welfare paperwork. The repeatedly apply, wait the full 45 days the law allows -and are turned down (once they were granted $8/mo). They subsist on whatever they can get from food banks and some small help fro their church. If they were to give up their home and could manage to get into subsidized housing, they would be instantly eligible. If grandma were to quit her job, they also would be eligible.
    So, lets get the whole picture on the food stamp issue: not everyone is created equal in the eyes of the welfare system: some are far more equal than others-and the working poor get the short end of the stick every time. For Gods sake, DONT ‘do the right thing’ and try to actually take care of your family and provide for the vast majority of your own needs: you will be punished by the system every time! Just enroll in college you cant pay for and all the taxpayers will support you!

  67. Larry Sinclair says:

    Do you actully think Wal-Mart’s of the USA will compalin? .. how much do you think their bottom line is EBT? Hell now you get cell phones for FREE .. Do you think verizon is going to complain? In my Kroger you can buy Birthday cakes and flower baskets because they put a bag of chips with it !!! Yea that’s starving !!!

  68. I raised my son from birth until he was almost 12 years old, as a single mom. I did not get child support (his biological father was a dead beat and they could not locate him) and I did not get or even attempt to get welfare, footstamps, Medicaid, etc. I used what the good Lord gave me…brains and the ability to work and work I did…for two years I worked two full-time jobs. I built my own home, drove a new car and paid all my own bills..I did not ask or get assistance from my parents either. Oh, and I was barely 21 when I had my son. I’m sick of our government rewarding people who do nothing but lay around on their lazy asses and continue to pop out kid after kid and expect the American taxpayers to foot the bill. I did it on my own and I’m proud of it..I raised an awesome son who is now a SGT in the Army with a family of his own. He learned a good work ethic from the time he was little and never grew up in the welfare mentality that everyone owed him somthing. I’m not against helping those who are down on their luck for reasons beyond their control; however, there needs to be limits as to how long one can get this assistance. For generation after generation to be on welfare is ludicrous. I was in my doctor’s office a few weeks ago, and a very young girl with a small child was in there and she was about 7 months pregnant with the next kid. On Medicaid…was dressed in designer clothes, had a cell phone and was driving a very nice new vehicle. I heard the receptionist ask her if she was employed and she told her no. I worked for 34 years…worked with cancer, went in to work throwing up when I had the flu, but I had a son to raise and bills to pay. We didnt have cable TV and cell phones, but we survived. We ate good meals, not Porterhouse steaks and the most expensive fare, but it was nurtricious meals. We did not dress in designer clothes, but we were dressed nicely. After working my ass off for all those years, several years ago I was involved in a very serious car accident (someone rear ended me and slammed me into the car in front of me sending me into the windshield head first…compression fracturing all the vertebra in my neck…I’ve had several major surgeries and can no longer work…which was devasting. I get SS disability, but that was no easy feat…wish they made welfare recipients out to be criminals and made them have to show a million different times the actual need for it My check has my Medicare monthly premium deducted from it. I went from a high paying managerial job to $889 per month. I am married, but that still took a toll on our household budget..but you know what? We survived. Because we know how to handle money, we aren’t in debt…our home is paid for as are our vehicles and everything else we own. I was severely injured thru no fault of my own and am expected to survive on basically nothing…no one handed me a food stamp card or free medical care…my monthly prescriptions take a huge chunk of my monthly check. My husband works but is not in a really high paying job, but we are thankful that he has a job. We’ve learned to live off and make adjustments according to our present income. So many today think that the government and hard-working taxpayers owe them government subsidized housing, groceries to their hearts content and every other amenity. It makes me want to throw up. People need to get off their asses and WORK…there is a pride that comes with taking care of oneself that is quickly falling by the wayside by the “entitlement crowd”, and it’s not getting any better…oh, BTW, I also got a college degree while working full time with no type of government or family assistance…it’s all in what you make of your life.

  69. Well, TN must have different guidelines than California. One of my best friends is a social worker and what this girl wrote is complete BS. I am not pro welfare but do know how it works as I helped a friend get it AND discuss it with my friend often. They WILL not send a card in the mail PERIOD. You go in wait in a line, fill out paperwork, YOU HAVE TO SHOW YOUR valid ID and Social Security card. You also need proof of income or lack of and can’t remember if you need rent info. If you qualify you wait in another line for a photo and thumbprint. Then you go to another line and they provide you the card after you show ID again and sign some papers. LOTS OF PAPERS GET SIGNED. As for students in the state of California they have to either go to school FT to receive benefits or can go part time to school but need to work 20 hrs per week min. If they are living with the parents a dorm paid by parents they don’t qualify. It is my understanding that all Social Service branches in all cities and states work the same way.

  70. PS. I am a Conservative who believes we need to reform welfare, but don’t believe that this is an accurate account of how the system works. Unless all states are different.

  71. Richard W Tibbetts Jr says:

    One question; What is the origin of debt? If I am responsible for your welfare,you will be responsible for me in my old age,fair enough? If your child,assuming you have one, breaks my window with a rock, you are in debt to me for the window. So,where is the origin of debt? There has to be ALL responsibility of the person that recieves welfare to be responsible for thier own debt,not the individual taxpayer, a taxpayer defined as “one who pays into the government and does not recieve a return”.

  72. Richard W Tibbetts Jr says:

    mispelled e-mail;it is

  73. The one and only nice thing about all these unsustainable spending programs is that they are ultimately self-rectifying. The federal government is BROKE and going deeper into debt by the day. The old line: “Socialism is great until they run out of other people’s money.” has already happened long ago. Now we are impoverishing our future generations (children and grandchildren etc.) with our out of control spending and we are not even slowing down. Most states are in way over their heads with seriously UNFUNDED liabilities (such as pensions) that are about to come crashing down on their heads, along with most of the deeply financially screwed cities all across the country. Wow are the public unions in for a bad day when the government ultimately defaults on them – see Greece for details.

    Basically, what happens with socialism is you eventually get to the point where so many powerful special interests and public unions and such get so solidly entrenched and intractable, THAT IT NO LONGER MATTERS WHO GETS ELECTED INTO OFFICE. This is the stage of the planned failure we are approaching now. Whomever gets into office quickly finds that while politicians may come and politicians may go, its the unelected bureaucrats that run everything who are in for life, and so wield a lot of very real power. In short, there will be no meaningful spending restraint, not until the dollar itself crashes and burns.

    When the world markets move off of the failing U.S. Dollar, our currency will proceed to collapse in less time than it takes to talk about it, and then EVERYBODY with be equally hungry and desperate under the iron fist of whatever oligarchy assumes control. People will be predictably fast to trade freedom for perceived security – and maybe a hot meal – as history repeats itself once again. Our grand experiment in freedom is an ongoing thing, but the people have forgotten what this means.

    We’ve lost the ability to communicate, to the point it takes using something basic like this 10 minute and 35 second video:
    so we can at least agree on what terms like “left wing” and “right wing” actually mean. We have to start there so we can at least begin to have a conversation from the same perspective. The media constantly attempts to control the language precisely because it is such a powerful weapon. Take the 10.5 minutes and watch the video and it may change the way you think a little bit. Very simple stuff that will doubtless surprise some folks, seeing as things like American History are no longer taught in our public indoctrination centers / schools.


  74. Hannah et al, I do not have a problem with YOUR tax money being used to help people who are can get by just fine without food stamps to get food stamps anyway. I don’t have a problem with the government inefficiently using your tax dollars to keep the poor dependent and reinforce the idea that working for a living is stupid (something I have been told by more than one person who is dependent on the government and refuses to get a job)

    I DO have a problem with you thinking you have the right to demand that MY money go to fund YOUR pet charities, charities that are demonstrably inefficient, need serious reform, and that reward poor behavior and punish good. I have a serious problem with the belief you seem to have that your selfish demand for MY money to go to YOUR pet charities which keep people enslaved in the system is somehow proof of your compassion. IT’s not. It’s proof of your feel good selfishness. You want other people’s money to go to these things because it makes YOU feel better. You don’t care about how efficient or effective those programs are, you care about feeling nice and superior to people who care more about help that IS help and not enslavement.

    Am I hard hearted? You don’t know me. We already had three children when we adopted a sibling group of two, one with serious handicaps that will require our care 24 and 7 all of her life. We have had homeless families living with us to help them get back on their feet. We have eaten beans and rice for months on end in order to help families where the husband was out of work. We’ve let a recent college grad live here rent free so she could save her money for her first apartment. We have been deeply involved in the lives of a single mom and her two sons for five years, to the point that the little boys some months live at my house more than at their mom’s. She gets food stamps for them, but we buy all the food the boys eat when they are my house. We’ve bought them clothes. When the second boy was born we had her and the boys stay with us when she came home from the hospital. We made a conscious decision not to take a job offer in England, where I have always wanted to go, so that we could be here for those boys.

    I have watched their mom make foolish choices over and over. They eat out at McDonalds several times a week, she buys herself expensive clothes, chooses to redecorate with rent-to-own furniture even when there is nothing wrong with the furniture she has, and then complains that she has no money for her son’s three dollar prescription (that’s her copay for medications). She tells me all the expensive things she’s bought this month and in the same conversation asks to borrow money because she has no money for gas. Her sons keep asking my husband why he goes to work every day instead of staying home to play with them. He says he works to pay for our food, medical care, and house, and they keep telling us, “You don’t have to work for those things. They are free,” because that’s what their mother tells them.

    My husband runs a grocery store, and he’s had customers answer his ‘did you find everything you need’ question with “I didn’t find somebody to pay for this, LOL,’ while they are checking out with their food stamps cards. The grocery store carries crab legs, which are nearly all purchased by people using their food stamps cards. Once a man buying crab legs with his card asked my husband how to fix them. Husband replied, “I don’t know. We have seven kids and can’t afford crab legs.” The guy agreed, and said, “I know. I couldn’t afford them either, until I got on food stamps.”

    The system needs serious reform, and if you can’t see that, you have no compassion at all. You have a selfish need to pat yourself on your back for your imagined charity at the expense of those like the little boys we take care of- this system is harming them, not helping them (their mother is perfectly capable of working, she just does not want to). It’s not compassion that makes you refuse to accept the system needs reform, it’s a pathology of enabling- mostly with other people’s money. I see selfishness and smugness here, not compassion.

  75. Wendy, yes, the states ARE different in their eligibility requirements. VERY different.

  76. Insane Liberal says:

    But really, isn’t Bush to blame?

  77. great article!! I worked in a grocery store for so long and saw countless people abusing the system. They would hand it around like its a toy, or use multiple EBT cards, and whine if they could not buy an energy drink that costs two dollars. That hater on these comments right at the top is a clown…

  78. I think she must have hit a nerve.Most of these people must be on the system and they think that they will loose a couple of dollars because of her experiment.I think she is right on.Maybe if some of you deadbeats would get a job maybe you would feel better.Just because you can get money for nothing isn’t an excuse.Seems to me you have no pride in yourself.[PITIFULL]

  79. The State of Oregon offered me $16.00 worth of aid based on $863.00 SS minus $130.00 Fed back taxes or $733.00 total to live on. How are these people scamming the government when I could only get such a measly amount? I didn’t bother with their generosity. I know people that get $150.00. I’m now %100 disabled service connected and don’t need their insulting treatment. At least the VA didn’t let me down.

  80. illage videot says:

    Voyager wrote:
    “…..I do find it interesting how willing other people are to reach out my hand to others in need, and claim it as their own charity.”

    Brilliant! Nailed it!

  81. john smith says:

    Julie u apparently are a welfare sucker typical lazy loser

  82. This is so refreshing! I am absolutely sick and tired of our government teaching children that they deserve some sort of free handout. The government should not be a charity– they should offer no assistance. If people are starving then there are food pantries at local churches that will gladly hand out food. I would rather donate food/money to a church than have the govt require me to pay them to feed others.

  83. food stamps are for losers. if you can’t feed yourself you are no good for society. food stamp people are thieves with a permission slip. instead of asking other people to support you please develop some personal integrity. food stamp people give credence to the overpopulation nutcases who would rather abort you than same you.

  84. If Hanna wants to be generous with her own money, good for her. But what right does she have to demand that other people’s money be spent (fraudulently, as it turns out) so that she can assuage her guilty conscience?

  85. I’m glad that there were entitlement/welfare programs to aid the pilgrims when they landed. I’m glad there were entitlement/welfare programs to help the founding fathers establish this great nation. I’m glad there were entitlement/welfare programs to help the settlers when they moved west from the colonies. I’m glad there were entitlement/welfare programs to aid in the settling of the midwest, America’s bread basket. I’m glad there were entitlement/welfare programs to aid the people in the expansion to the west coast. I guess this great nation would have never come to be in existence without a socialist program.

  86. Welcome to the new slavery! Willingly entered into by the stupid.

  87. What I hear in these comments is that leftists and moderates believe in the socialist premise that government should be everything to “the people”. Conservatives believe in families pulling together, self sufficiency, that government has limited duties and needs to get out of the way of the individual. Conservatives know that adversity builds character and either makes or breaks the individual. It is NOT the governments business to assist each individual it is OUR reponsibility. When I was down and out I chose not to enter Uncle Sam’s plantation. Family, friends and churches got me through.

  88. I think any of you who think food stamps for ANY student is okay should get a JOB! Stop putting your hand out and start realizing that no one owes you ANYTHING! We all were poor where I came from, saved what we could, went to school with loans which WE PAID BACK ON TIME, and did eat alot of Ramen noodles. Oh well, life is tough and the sooner you learn that, the sooner you will succeed.

  89. Interesting. I ran across this drivel searching for information about re-certifying for my food benefits. Yep, I’m on “the dole” according to some of you. It never occurred to me to apply for food stamps; I presumed that “someone like me” wouldn’t qualify. In order to get into a low cost clinic I was required to apply for assistance; finding myself approved for food benefits shocked me. I’m well-educated, I have a BBA in finance and my JD. I used to earn a very respectable salary; then I became disabled. I lost my home, nearly everything I owned. I had no family to assist me. People “like me” don’t become homeless; we did everything right. I excelled academically, got into law school, landed in the top 25% of my class. I worked and paid for everything without incurring student debt. Guess what, shit happens. During the under two years I’ve been receiving food stamps I’ve had to re-certify every five months. It’s supposed to be six but the letter always arrives two months early. It’s damn rigorous. They contact my landlord, friends, neighbors for all I know; I’m surprised they haven’t subjected me to a body cavity search. I finally gave up on the hope that I’d “get well” and applied for SSDI. Once it’s approved, and there’s little doubt that it will be, it’s highly likely I’ll lose my food benefits. SSDI doesn’t pay a fraction of what I used to earn but I’ll be able to get by. BTW, food stamps cannot be used to order a pizza or buy fast food around here. They can’t be used to purchase a roasted chicken at Walmart; however, if I was inclined, I could buy all the chips and soft drinks my benefits would cover. I don’t like chips or soft drinks. But don’t despair, “haves”, my assistance isn’t coming out of your pockets; I’ve paid more into the system than I could possibly live long enough to get back. I hope what’s left over goes to another person in need. Ayn Rand and her t-bagger cult epitomize evil. Jesus was NOT a conservative.

  90. Grateful4help says:

    To Fed up, I agree – shit happens. Different people have different circumstances and some people need help sometimes. There are a lot of people that abuse the system and live off welfare all their lives, but there are also people that are struggling and use the assistance to get back on their feet. To all of you that were able to make it through rough times without assistance, that’s great, but it doesn’t mean you should look down upon those of us that do ask for some help.

    I went to college & got my degree, married my high school sweetheart, had 2 children, and got a decent job that allowed me to take care of my family. A year after having my youngest child, my husband started abusing me. I’m not talking about calling names or pushing me. When he would get upset, he would punch & choke me and threaten to take take the kids. One day, after a particularly bad fight, I took the kids and left – with nothing but the clothes we had on & my baby’s diaper bag. I had to relocate which means I left my job and everything else. I looked for work in the area I moved to and found nothing. I filled out applications & went to interview after interview. I wasn’t hired at fast food places or convenience stores b/c I was “overqualified” due to my degree. I wasn’t hired at some other places b/c I didn’t have the “right experience” or “enough experience.” I went to local churches & shelters for help with food & clothing, but was told they had a limited supply and had run out, but I could try again next month. I had spent all the money I had to rent us a house and get utilities turned on. So, yes, I did turn to DHS and apply for food stamps. And, yes, I did qualify. After 3 months of actively searching for work, I finally got a job. And I continued to get food stamps b/c I still qualified and I needed any money I earned to help rebuild my life.

    My point is, sometimes people just need some help. I don’t feel like I am “owed” anything from anyone, but I am grateful that there was somewhere I could turn when I needed it the most. Could my children and I have survived without food stamps? Yes, I am positive, that one way or another I could have made it work, but at what cost? Sometimes people just need to realize that things are not always black and white. I would have been willing to work anywhere. 2 jobs even. Sometimes it’s not possible, though. I have 2 small children and no one in the area to watch them while I work. Daycares in this town are only open Monday through Friday from 6 until 5:30. This means I can’t work nights and weekends.

    In order for me to get food stamps, I did have to fill out a lot of paperwork, show id and social security cards for me & my kids, provide birth certificates, and report to the DHS office every 3 months. However, I do believe that there are people that get assistance that don’t need it. I agree with some earlier comments that you should have to prove you are looking for work (like when you get unemployment) and even be drug tested. It doesn’t make sense that you have to be screened for drugs before you work, but not before you receive “free” benefits. So, I think that the author here does have a point about benefits coming too easily for some, but my response is to those of you that made comments that make it sound like all people on food stamps are lazy, unmotivated, uneducated, or unwilling to help themselves. That is not always the case.

  91. I hope “Gregory of Yardsale” doesn’t think i have a guilty conscience, because I don’t. This conversation has gone way off base.

  92. and Caroline…living on noodles isn’t healthy for students, so good for you if you did it but it’s a scientific fact that just like lack of vitamn C causes scurvey, lack of B causes brain damage.

  93. I am glad people can get help and I hope the help reaches everyone that needs it. I don’t feel it takes anything from me. If some people get something they don’t need, I hope they share it with those who do need it.

  94. Cheryl is proud of going to work while she was throwing up with the flu, but she had to do it because she had kids and bills.

    The flu can be deadly, but she exposed children and elderly to the flu because she didn’t want to take a handout. To her, this is something to boast about.

    …It’s too bad the government can’t allow people to decide where they want there tax dollars to go. Many people don’t mind helping needy, and others don’t mind paying for defense.

    Everyone has to pay taxes. It’s acceptable, to most of us, because there are benefits to living in a lawful and governed society so why can’t people just allocate where their particular dollars go?

  95. This article is not proof of anything. The writer didn’t cite many facts, nor was she particularly interested in her own experiment. She was surprised to find that she was in dire enough financial straights to receive EBT, period.

    She never says how much money she has, or what her friends with “similar financial backgrounds” have. She doesn’t state what information she did have to provide, and she doesn’t say whether the EBT office asked for information regarding whether her parents helped her with expenses, or not.

    It’s shoddy reporting, at best and shouldn’t be taken very seriously.

  96. Priscilla Allison says:

    In the first place, who wouldn’t want federally subsidized college students to be well-nourished in order to do a better job at what they’re there to do? Most colleges and universities in the U.S., including Lee University, fully participate in federal financial aid programs, which include pell grants and subsidized low-interest loans, as well as work study programs–which means that many student workers are paid from federal funds. Most of this aid is based on financial need. None of this money counts against food stamps, but the last I knew, college students had to be eligible for work study, or working to qualify for food stamps.

    And please recognize that even if a student’s entire tuition is paid privately, if the university is receiving tuition money from federal coffers, every student benefits from these funds. The facilities and services of even private universities are being subsidized by federal and state monies.

    Just because you didn’t turn in one work stub, you think you should have your case denied? What if you didn’t have parents, or your parents wouldn’t help you? Don’t you think they can (and will) verify any or all of your information by computer? If your campus job is work study, it’s a routine matter for the worker to verify your hours by computer using your SSN. In any case, even though you were sent out a routine notice about needing to turn in work verification, sometimes federal workers are smart enough to realize that it was too soon for you to be able to produce it, and at your six month review, they will have opportunity to make sure everything is in order.

  97. Priscilla Allison says:

    It doesn’t prove anything that you didn’t physically produce a birth certificate or social security card. DHS workers have and routinely access birth certificates and social security records from the information provided on the application. When you sign the application you give them permission to do it. That might bring up a different issue, but your case is easily verifiable.

  98. Every American that pays taxes should also get Food Stamps because, if it wasn’t for us no one would be getting them and therefore they would all die of hunger. That wouldn’t bother me one bit either.

  99. RealistNerd says:

    So many people commenting here are a bit too “trigger-happy” and failed to do even a single bit of research before posting argumentative statements. Firstly: Most people here , even the self proclaimed ‘social workers’ seem to think that all states and county’s operate the same – in the way that benefits are awarded and people are screened. There is a federal ‘guideline’, but technically the states are not legally bound to follow this guideline to every ‘t’. This allows different areas to operate differently and thus, your knowledge in a different region ‘may be’ or is ‘completely’ irrelevant to this girls experiences. So you should refrain from jumping to accusations such as ‘lair’ and ‘fraudulent fiend’ … Secondly: Even though this girl claims herself to be a college student, that doesn’t mean that she is also claiming to be an ‘expert’ in the matter, and her statements (especially those which have no reverences) should be treated as broad estimations or loose facts. If not, just opinions or suspicions. An Individual of any education level that decides to research a pressing issue and comment on it should be met with encouragement and suggestion to continue research with emphasis on obtaining credible facts, figures and references to support their statements.

  100. A real experiment:

    Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich. Written from the perspective of the undercover journalist, it sets out to investigate the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act on the “working poor” in the United States.


  1. […] at The College Conservative, Sydney Phillips of Lee University has written a column about her experience applying for food […]

  2. […] Original Source icBeacon('investmentwatchblog'); Be Sociable, Share! Tweet(function() {var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT'), s1 = document.getElementsByTagName('SCRIPT')[0];s.type = 'text/javascript';s.async = true;s.src = '';s1.parentNode.insertBefore(s, s1);})(); January 16th, 2012 | […]

  3. […] Conservative No comments yetSydney Phillips recounts her experience applying for food stamps in the College Conservative. She had noticed that quite a few of her classmates are enrolled in the program, and wondered what […]

  4. […] Advertise with SwamySez Posted in Recent Post SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Delicious StumbleUpon E-mail « Submitted by SwamySez: That’s McDisgusting! Shocking video ‘shows a mouse running riot in a bag of Big Mac buns’ window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({ appId : 'swamysez7250star', // App ID status : true, // check login status cookie : true, // enable cookies to allow the server to access the session oauth : true, // enable OAuth 2.0 xfbml : true // parse XFBML }); }; (function(d){ var js, id = 'facebook-jssdk'; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement('script'); = id; js.async = true; js.src = '//'; d.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(js); }(document)); Fatal error: Uncaught Exception: 190: Invalid OAuth access token signature. thrown in /home/swamy/domain/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/seo-facebook-comments/plulz/lib/Model/PlulzFacebookAbstract.php on line 1048 […]

  5. […] YOU CAN USE: Sydney Phillips: I Got Food Stamps And So Can You! “No one ever asked for a copy of my birth certificate or Social Security card, nor for my […]

  6. […] In case you’re wondering what it takes to qualify for free food at someone else’s expense these days, Sydney Phillips went undercover and discovered the answer — a pulse. […]

  7. […] Proof from a college student that the growing entitlement society is a serious problem. My recent excursion into the welfare system has left me scratching my head.  Prior to writing and researching this project, my only impression of food stamps and similar welfare programs was that the credit only worked for certain items at certain stores and that an individual had to be in a particularly dire financial situation to receive such aid.  I was wrong. […]

  8. […] I Got Food Stamps and So Can You! ( […]

  9. […] I Got Food Stamps and So Can You! ( […]

  10. […] Phillips from "The College Conservative" on how easy it is to get food stamps! […]

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