How Should People Spend Food Stamps?

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
How Should People Spend Food Stamps?
Fri, 08-16-2013 - 11:02am

More Americans are annoyed by the idea of food stamp recipients using their benefits to buy expensive food than them using it to buy junk food, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

According to the survey, 54 percent of Americans think people should not be allowed to use food stamps to buy expensive items such as crab legs, while only 32 percent said that they should be allowed to do so.

By contrast, respondents were split on allowing those on food stamps to buy junk food, like potato chips, candy and soda. Forty-five percent said they should be allowed to buy those items and 42 percent said they should not.

Americans Feel Strongly About How Poor People Should Spend Their Food Stamps-

Where do you stand on the issue? What do you think (if anything) should be banned from purchasing with food stamps?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Sun, 09-29-2013 - 9:54am

I don't see a problem with regulating food stamps purchases int his manner. FS are supposed to be supplementing food purchases. IMO this means the recipient cannot afford to feed themselves or their family and probably shouldn't be spending FS on extravagant purchases.

Many complained, with the proposed cuts, they were not getting enough now to cover their food costs. So again, to regulate it might be helpful to people who are already finding it hard to make ends meet.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Tue, 08-20-2013 - 4:30pm

I agree with you, but I think the problem is that people who live in poor inner city neighborhoods often don't have access to fresh produce. Poor neighborhoods have a lot of convenience stores, which sell junk food, and liquor stores, but to get to a real supermarket involves a long bus or subway ride that many people just don't have time to take. That's why a higher percentage of poor people are obese than middle and upper income people, and it's also why many poor people are malnourished.

I sometimes shop at a supermarket in the suburbs that has a very large clientele on food stamps. They have a lot of ethnic foods and their prices are excellent. The other day, they had lobster on sale for $3.99/lb. I would have no problem with someone buying that with their EBT card, as it was a heck of a lot cheaper than chicken, and I would consider that a good value for the taxpayers.

The system is definitely broken, however. Ideally, EBT cards would be used only for whole foods (not packaged crap that makes people fat and sick) and those foods would be available where poor people actually live.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Tue, 08-20-2013 - 4:28pm

They should be able to spend the money on food...whatever FOOD they like.  But food stamps should also be strictly means tested.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Fri, 08-16-2013 - 1:14pm

Food stamps need to be used only as an emergency means to keep people from starving-not for treats that a family couldn't ordinarily afford. I think anything at all like candy, chips, and soda need to be forbidden. And a complete overhaul of the system needs to be happening if people who qualify for what is supposed to be emergency assistance can budget in lobster and crab legs. Keep track and cut benefits for those who are buying luxury items and junk food verses what they need to stay alive.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2007
Fri, 08-16-2013 - 12:17pm

I don't know, I'm torn.  In an ideal world healthy foods would cost the same as 'junk' food.  However, as we all know, you can buy more of the 'junk' type foods for your dollar.  Eating healthy is expensive!  My guess is that most families are trying to get the most bang for their buck.  Sure there are those that take advantage of the system, but I don't think I've ever witnessed someone on food stamps buy crab legs!