class, Family, Social Problems, Social Safety Net

What Happened When a State Made Food Stamps Harder to Get. In West Virginia, tougher work requirements for receiving food stamps complicated life for poor people, but did not result in increased employment. The most visible impact in the changes in work requirements for the food stamp program in nine West Virginia counties was at homeless missions and food pantries, which saw a substantial spike in demand that has never receded. By Campbell Robertson Jan. 13, 2020 MILTON, W.Va.

— In the early mornings, Chastity and Paul Peyton walk from their small and barely heated apartment to Taco Bell to clean fryers and take orders for as many work hours as they can get. It rarely adds up to a full-time week’s worth, often not even close. With this income and whatever cash Mr. Peyton can scrape up doing odd jobs — which are hard to come by in a small town in winter, for someone without a car — the couple pays rent, utilities and his child support payments. Then there is the matter of food. “We can barely eat,” Ms. Peyton said. She was told she would be getting food stamps again soon — a little over two dollars’ worth a day — but the couple was without them for months. Sometimes they made too much money to qualify; sometimes it was a matter of working too little. There is nothing reliable but the local food pantry.

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