Posts Tagged ‘Food Stamps’

The cloud inside the silver lining

April 19, 2010

Curiously, sometimes having more money available for an entitlement program – through ARRA, for example –  can actually mean that while access improves, quality of service declines on certain measures.

Stimulus dollars have been used across the country to expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps).  But the  Texas auditor’s office discovered that with the increased case loads, wait times for applicants have gone way up. In 2006, 92 percent of applications were processed in a timely way, according to the audit. In the first part of Fiscal year 2010, that number had fallen to less than 70 percent.

One of the problems cited in the report is the fact that many of the workers hired to serve the growing population of food stamp recipients are new. Those who have less than two years experience are now 41 percent of the front line workforce – compared to four percent in Fiscal year 2005.

We wonder. Are these problems unique to Texas. Or does the Texas experience reflect what’s happening in other states as well?

A billion here, a billion there

March 12, 2010

You may have noticed that the figure used for total Recovery Act spending has metamorphosed from the $787 billion reported last year to $862 billion in reports this year.

Why the change?

The increased price tag comes from greater-than-anticipated spending in three areas of the stimulus  that are open-ended: Higher unemployment has led to an additional $21 billion spent on unemployment benefits; Food stamps are costing $34 billion more than estimated and the Build America Bond program cost estimates have increased by $26 billion.

This information comes from the Government Accountability Office’s “One Year Later” examination of the stimulus, released last week.