Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pennsylvanians seeking food stamps may soon have to pass an asset test

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvanians seeking food stamps might have to pass an asset test that state officials say will help ensure the program aids those who need it most, but advocates for the poor say it might hurt people who genuinely qualify for the federal benefit and are struggling to recover from the recession.

The asset test under consideration would meet the most stringent limits allowed by federal law — no more than $2,000 in savings for many households — as record numbers of people seek help paying for food and states increasingly relax barriers to getting the benefit.

The state Department of Public Welfare relayed its plans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a Dec. 28 letter obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, a department spokeswoman disputed a report by the Inquirer that the agency plans to begin enforcing the asset test on May 1. She said nothing has been decided.
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