A food stamp account balance of more than $12,000 caught the attention of Pennsylvania lawmakers who are now demanding changes to the program.
Target 11 first reported on the matter earlier this month after a viewer emailed the station a grocery store receipt with the huge balance.
The Department of Public Welfare confirmed the legitimacy of the receipt and balance. A department spokesperson told the station that high balances are unusual, but do occur from time to time.
This didn’t sit well with Pittsburgh lawmakers and state lawmakers alike.
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“When it came to our attention that someone had a $12,000 food stamp balance it was disturbing to say the least,” State Representative David Reed, (R) Indiana, said. Reed sent a letter to members of Congress and the Department of Agriculture, the federal agency that oversees the food stamp program.
“I have a family of five. I don’t think we spend $12,000 a year on groceries. That’s an awful lot of money to accumulate over a year,” Reed added. “That’s a thousand dollars a month, which they obviously didn’t need.”
Reports of high balances on food stamp cards have been popping out in other states as well.
In February, KIRO-TV reported a food stamp card balance of $8,427 in Washington, which had some food stamp recipients outraged.
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“I don’t understand how these people are doing this! It’s not fair and it’s not right to the people who really do need help,” said recipient David Snow.
Another recipient, Shane Person, believes people with huge balances are receiving more money people they have more dependents and they’re accumulating the amount of money they receive every month.
“Do they need food stamps to behind with if you are able to accumulate that type of balance?” asked Reed. He is now calling on Congress to improve management of the program, or at least give individual states the right to make the changes.
After seeing some rather large food stamp card balances of their own in Massachusetts, state lawmakers announced new rules to the program in July. Recipients with balances above $1,500 will be notified to see if they continue to need assistance and cards with balances over $2,500 will be closed, CBS Boston reported.