There Are    -     Returning? Login

The HardCore News

Debt Ceiling Crisis: Food Stamp Program Shutdown Imminent?

States across the country are being told to stop the supplemental nutrition assistance program for the month of November, pending further notice.

By Tyler Durden - 10-16-2013 - Zero Hedge

When over the weekend, a Xerox “glitch” shut down the EBT system, better known as foodstamps, for nearly the entire day across 17 states leaving millions without “funding” to pay for food leading to dramatic examples of the basest human behavior possible, some of the more conspiratorial elements saw this merely as a dress rehearsal for what may be coming in the immediate future. While there was no basis to believe that is the case, a USDA (the currently shuttered agency that administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) memo obtained by the Crossroads Urban Center in Utah carries in it a very disturbing warning for the 46+ million Americans currently on foodstamps.

To wit: “understanding the operational issues and constraints that States face, and in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing States to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to State electronic benefit transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.” In other words, as Fox13News summarizes, “States across the country are being told to stop the supplemental nutrition assistance program for the month of November, pending further notice.”

More on this dramatic development which, if implemented, would will result in significant unpredictable outcomes across the nation:

“This is going to create a huge hardship for the people we serve here in our food pantry,” says Bill Tibbits who is the Associate Director at Crossroads Urban Center.

They posted a letter from the USDA on its Facebook page. It says in part, “in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing states to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to state electronic benefit transfer vendors until further notice.”

“What this means if there’s not a deal, if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to get federal government back up and running, in Utah about 100,000 families won’t get food stamp benefit,” says Tibbits.

In other words, tens of thousands of Utah families may not be able to feed their children come November.

“People out here are going to go without food,” says Loralee Smith whose been homeless since August and says the uncertainty is making her uneasy about where her next meal will come from. “I’m on food stamps, I don’t know if I’m going to get them, a lot of people are on food stamps and they don’t know if they’re going to get them.”

Others say if SNAP shuts down, they’ll find a way to feed themselves.

One hopes such “alternative” feeding arrangements will be peaceful, although in the most heavily armed nation in the world, and arguably the one where a massive portion of the population is now fully reliant on the welfare state for virtually every daily need, it is easy to see cutting off daily bread to tens of millions has a less than happy ending.

As the report notes, for people out on the streets like Richard Phillips, “It could impact us and it’s going to cause problems because you’re going to come to find out that people are going to steal and do what they have to do to survive.”

Such a realization could come as a very unpleasant wake up call for the millions of other Americans who still live in their Ivory Towers, focusing on the daily gyrations of the S&P500, and largely oblivious of how the rest of America lives.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/debt-ceiling-crisis-food-stamp-program-shutdown-imminent/5354449

As Foreign Aid Flows Amid Shutdown, Obama USDA to Stop Food Stamps
by Alex Newman - TheNewAmerican - Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Despite the wildly over-hyped partial “shutdown” of the federal government, U.S. taxpayer dollars continue flowing to foreign lands and innumerable other unconstitutional schemes that are arbitrarily deemed “essential.” The Obama administration’s Department of Agriculture (USDA), however, sent a letter to states apparently ordering them to cut off food stamps for Americans by November 1, pending further notice. A welfare program for women, children, and infants known as WIC is also on the chopping block, and some analysts are forecasting potential disaster.

As part of the effort to extort funds for ObamaCare from the people’s representatives in Congress, the administration has already been caught deliberately trying to make the “shutdown” feel as "painful" as possible — closing parks, evicting homeowners, shuttering businesses, harassing veterans, trying to shut down parts of the ocean, and more, often at additional expense to taxpayers. Suddenly cutting off funds to the food stamp “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (SNAP) that some 50 million people have come to depend on, though, would take the obscene antics to a new level — especially doing it with no warning.

According to media reports appearing around the country, a letter from USDA “Food and Nutrition Service” (FNS) boss Audrey Rowe to SNAP state agency directors suggests food stamps will be cut off by next month unless Congress agrees to a funding bill that meets all of Obama’s demands. The USDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The New American. However, state officials confirmed the developments, and the USDA letter to states is now widely available online.

“FNS understands that States are concerned about future operations stemming from the continuing lapse in Federal funding,” explained the document. “According to the information we have received, several States provide next month's issuance files as early as the 15th of the month. With that in mind, understanding the operational issues and constraints that States face, and in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing States to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to State electronic benefit transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.”

On the USDA website, which has not been updated in two weeks due to the “shutdown,” an FNS document also explains some of the agency’s plans for dealing with the partial shutdown. “States may make the decision to continue operations (of FNCS) for some period, but they will be doing so at their own risk with the understanding that Federal funds may not be forthcoming,” the document explained.

For food stamps, though, the money runs out in about two weeks unless the “deal” to cave in to Obama’s demands goes through. “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will continue operations and eligible households will still receive monthly benefits for October,” noted the document, dated October 1. After that, what happens was not explained, but analysts say the letter might offer the answer.

Separately, the WIC, which provides assistance to poor women and children, is also among the programs apparently set be cut off unless House Republicans agree to all of Obama’s demands. “Should a lapse extend through late October, federal WIC funding may not be sufficient to cover benefits,” explains the USDA’s “shutdown” plan. According to news reports citing officials, the program is expected to be one of the first to fold unless and until the full federal government — rather than the supposedly “essential” 83 percent currently in operation — is back up and running.

State officials quoted in media accounts confirmed that the two unconstitutional federal welfare schemes providing food to the poor were in trouble. “The biggest programs affected by the shutdown will be food stamps, the Women, Infants and Children feeding program (WIC), the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance program and the school lunch program,” said State Budget Director John Nixon in Michigan, where some 200,000 women and children obtain WIC benefits.

In Utah, Juliette Tennert, chief economist for the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, also confirmed that the food stamp program “is scheduled to run out at the end of the month” if the shutdown continues. Officials in other states have come to similar conclusions, though it does not appear that food stamp recipients have been notified yet.

In many areas, private charities and citizens are getting ready to step up to the plate, vowing to do what they can to help needy families if and when their food stamps run out. “It is important that Michiganders understand that the Food Banks will stretch their dollars and do whatever is needed to meet the demand that may arise from any loss of our public partners,” explained Kareemah El-Amin, executive director of The Food Bank Council of Michigan.

In other states, though, local food bank operators are warning that they may not be able to deal with the sudden explosion of demand. Idaho Foodbank President Karen Vauk, for example, said her network “cannot” replace the food stamp program. In Utah, Associate Director Bill Tibbits with the Crossroads Urban Center said: “We can’t, there’s no way we could deal with it.”

Of course, with just two weeks’ notice, it will certainly be hard to make up for the shortfall. That has more than a few analysts and commentators concerned about what could happen. A regular contributor to the financial analysis site ZeroHedge who goes by the name Tyler Durden noted that with “a massive portion” of the American people “now fully reliant on the welfare state for virtually every daily need, it is easy to see cutting off daily bread to tens of millions has a less than happy ending.” Citing recent, small-scale food stamp glitches that resulted in instant chaos, he said it “may be the most catalytic event in the history of the U.S. welfare state.”

Liberty-minded political activist Kristan Harris, writing for South Milwaukee Now, echoed increasingly widespread concerns about the potential for turmoil. “Could the SNAP EBT (Food Stamp) disaster that occurred across 17 states last weekend have been a planned drill rather than system failure?” he asked, referring to recent outages that led to some looting and disorder. The piece also criticized the fact that people have not been informed.

“Let’s not forget other sensible cuts that could happen for example programs like the Department of Homeland Security, The NSA, The TSA, fusion centers, unconstitutional spying programs, cameras on the street corners and armored vehicles for our local colleges are not happening,” Harris added. “I bet all those bills are still being paid. Why can’t we cut there?”

Indeed, under the almost ludicrous justification that showering taxpayer funds on foreign governments is a “national security” issue, the Obama administration’s foreign aid schemes are still going at full speed. Shortly before the shutdown began, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that “the vast majority of normal functions and operations will continue.”

In addition to “foreign aid,” the food stamp program is just one of an ever-growing number of unconstitutional federal schemes that should eventually be phased out. The U.S. Constitution provides no authority whatsoever for the federal government to operate wealth-redistribution or welfare schemes — no matter how well-intentioned they may sound. Of course, if state governments wish to operate such programs, there is nothing to prevent them from doing so, constitutionally speaking at least.

However, studies and history consistently show the devastating consequences of creating dependence on government. Private charities are generally far more efficient, compassionate, and frugal in supporting those in need anyway. Americans can and will help their neighbors — especially if food stamps are cut off next month — regardless of what Big Government proponents claim.

Still, threatening to cut off food stamps after deliberately creating a massive class of dependent citizens and attacking the economy from all angles — even as most of the out-of-control federal government continues squandering money on everything from foreign aid to harassing taxpayers — should be recognized for what it is: A cheap ploy to terrorize Americans into submission.

Such programs should eventually be phased out and replaced with private charity, preferably, or state-level initiatives if citizens in those believe government intervention must continue. However, to cut them off completely and without warning in an apparent bid to extort money for ObamaCare merits congressional investigations at the very least. Americans, meanwhile, should prepare themselves to feed and protect their families and fellow citizens in case the need arises suddenly.

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/16754-as-foreign-aid-flows-amid-shutdown-obama-usda-to-stop-food-stamps

Shutdown will cause federal funding for Section 8 to dry up Nov. 1, Massachusetts housing official says

By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican - October 09, 2013 at 2:16 PM, updated October 09, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Editorial: Paltry Social Security increase sign of economic times
Fool's errand or heroic stand? GOP on Ted Cruz, Mike Lee
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal: "Government will open"
Senate leader announces bipartisan budget deal
Warren Buffett says allowing U.S. default would be idiocy

A top Massachusetts housing official warned that the state will no longer be able to pay landlords rental assistance for low-income tenants if the government shutdown continues through the end of the month.

Aaron Gornstein, Massachusetts’s undersecretary for housing and community development, said the state is operating its Section 8 rental assistance off money that it received before the federal government shut down Oct. 1. However, if Congress does not reopen the government, that money will run out.

“We had some funds that were flowing, but starting Nov. 1, however, we will not have those funds,” Gornstein said. “We will not be able to make payments to landlords, so what could happen is landlords may start the eviction process. But we don’t know.”

Gornstein’s comments come as social service providers and government officials have been trying to warn the public about the long-term impacts of a shutdown, even as many of those impacts are not yet apparent. Gornstein spoke to The Republican/MassLive.com on Tuesday before a rally of social service provider, who called on Congress to restore government funding. While some effects of the shutdown are obvious – for example, non-essential federal employees have been out of work since Oct. 1 – many government programs still have money to function for several weeks.

Even within the Section 8 rental assistance program, it is hard to determine the exact impact of the shutdown. Around 20,000 Massachusetts residents get Section 8 vouchers administered by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. But around 55,000 Massachusetts residents receive housing vouchers from local housing authorities, which have independent budgets.

Mary Ellen Lowney, a spokeswoman for the Springfield Housing Authority, said the rental assistance it administers is funded through the end of December.

Michael Kane, executive director of the Boston-based Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, went to Washington this week to lobby moderate Republicans in Congress to resolve the shutdown. Kane said housing agencies nationwide generally have enough federal money to get through October. “But after October, there’s no guarantees,” Kane said. “If they don’t get money, landlords might find they’re not getting payments…. If the shutdown continues more than another week or two, we could be talking about mass displacement of millions of low-income tenants in a few weeks.”

Carolyn Federoff, a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Boston and executive vice president of a union representing HUD employees, said after October, an agency’s funding depends on how much money it has in reserves. Realistically, she said no Massachusetts housing court is likely to evict a family from public housing before the winter because the government has stopped paying landlords. “I predict people will continue to be housed,” she said. “Whether or not there’s money to keep electricity or lights on…there will be little or no maintenance.”

Similarly, several other assistance programs have money, but only through this month. In Massachusetts, 887,000 people benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. Anyone who clicks on the SNAP benefits page on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website will see a message, “Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available.” However, Matthew Kitsos, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, said benefits are continuing through October.

“While a long-term federal shutdown would have an impact on SNAP benefits and the approximately 887,000 individuals that receive these benefits in Massachusetts, October benefits have been authorized through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and are currently being issued,” Kitsos said.

As MassLive.com previously reported, a major concern for social services agencies is fuel assistance. But while agencies have lost funding for staff to process applications, and some are relying on reserves, actual benefits to individuals are not scheduled to start until Nov. 1.

The Massachusetts Association for Community Action, which represents service providers, has asked the legislature for $20 million in state funding for the program, but the legislature has not taken action yet on that request. “We’re assuming that if the federal government shutdown continues through the month, it’s going to directly impact that program and people will not get fuel assistance,” Gornstein said.

Gornstein said the state’s program for weatherization and heating system repair will also not be able to function as of Nov 1.

The state has not provided information about how long it has funding for other programs. Kitsos said the federal government will not continue quarterly formula grants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and “as these programs run out of cash on hand, they will not be able to provide services.” Kitsos could not say when that is expected to happen.

Meanwhile, the agencies that administer social service programs are trying to keep pressure on the federal government to reopen before benefits are denied.

Nearly a dozen service providers attended Tuesday’s rally hosted by the social service agency Action for Boston Community Development. “We just want to keep the word going that this can’t continue,” said Paul Bailey, executive director of Springfield Partners for Community Action. “It can only go on for so long.”

Emily Shea, commissioner of the city of Boston’s Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, said by the end of October, “phones will be ringing off the hook in the mayor’s office” from seniors seeking heating assistance.

Many expressed frustration with Congress. John Drew, president and CEO of ABCD, said in his 40 years with the agency, said, “I don’t remember as much bumbling idiocy…from our national government.”

http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/10/federal_funding_for_low-income.html

Utah families on food stamps could be cut off soon
Posted on: 9:18 pm, October 14, 2013, by Nineveh Dinha, updated on: 09:20pm, October 14, 2013

States across the country are being told to stop the supplemental nutrition assistance program for the month of November, pending further notice.
That’s according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fox 13 obtained a copy from the Crossroads Urban Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Crossroads says if Utah families don’t get food stamps, they’ll turn to the local food pantries, which are already strapped due to the government shutdown. Homeless people Fox 13 talked to, some who use SNAP, say losing food stamps would mean going hungry.
“This is going to create a huge hardship for the people we serve here in our food pantry,” says Bill Tibbits who is the Associate Director at Crossroads Urban Center.
They posted a letter from the USDA on its Facebook page. It says in part, “in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing states to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to state electronic benefit transfer vendors until further notice.”
“What this means if there’s not a deal, if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to get federal government back up and running, in Utah about 100,000 families won’t get food stamp benefit,” says Tibbits.
In other words, tens of thousands of Utah families may not be able to feed their children come November.
People out on the streets like Richard Phillips says, “It could impact us and it’s going to cause problems because you’re going to come to find out that people are going to steal and do what they have to do to survive.”
“People out here are going to go without food,” says Loralee Smith whose been homeless since August and says the uncertainty is making her uneasy about where her next meal will come from. “I’m on food stamps, I don’t know if I’m going to get them, a lot of people are on food stamps and they don’t know if they’re going to get them.”
Others say if SNAP shuts down, they’ll find a way to feed themselves.
“There’s always food pantries to go to, to get food,” says Mason who is homeless and relies on food stamps. However, Crossroads says there’s no way they could handle the increase if food stamps go away.
“We’ll be affected because if people, if a family doesn’t get food stamp benefits, they’re going to come here,” says Tibbits. “Wee can’t, there’s no way we could deal with it.”
The local pantries are already feeling the pinch because WIC, a federal program which provides baby formula and food to families in need has been affected by the shutdown. With SNAP on the chopping block temporarily, Crossroads fears their shelves will soon be empty.

http://fox13now.com/2013/10/14/utah-families-on-food-stamps-could-be-cut-off-soon/

By admin

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 16th (4 weeks ago)

« Previous A Corporate Trojan Horse: Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws » Next Will Governments Start To Come After Your Savings?
  • 1 Person Tracking

  • admin admin