Sep 22, 2018 at 4:15 AM
I respond to the Sept. 10 letter “Food stamps need work requirement” from Maureen Collins.
On the surface House Resolution 2 seems fair and logical. Collins said the proposed bill will require needy recipients who are “able-bodied” and without dependents to work 20 hours per week. As with many things that appear to make sense, a second look provides a different view.
The majority of poor people work, or want to. Work is a fundamental part of our human identity, and a great source of pride and independence in our society. Being unemployed without backup resources to provide interim support is exceedingly stressful. Middle-class people generally have savings and family to help them should they lose their jobs, as well as higher levels of education, training and specialized work experience.
Jobs available to the poorest people are marginal in many ways — low wages, unpredictable hours and minimal benefits. They do not require a level of specialization expected by the unfilled openings in our growing economy unless they are those that still fail to provide a living wage.
Poverty itself is emotionally and physically stressful. Medical and psychiatric issues, even if not regarded as fully disabling, often have significant influence upon the worker’s functioning level. Addiction-related issues are rampant on all socioeconomic levels, but the impact is greater for the poor, and the resources often scarçer. Add deciding whether to pay rent or utilities when both are due to the problems of a nonexistent or disabled car in rural areas, or poor access to public transportation in urban ones, and you get an idea of the real obstacles people can face.
To withdraw food support from a needy person or family, when work is not found or cannot be kept, is simply inhumane. Practically, people cannot work well when hungry, nor can their family members.
Who does not need to eat? If a work requirement for SNAP recipients were to be implemented, the costs associated with enforcement would be both uneconomical and immoral.
Nancy Rafert, Columbus