The number of West Virginians receiving food stamps jumped more than 29,000 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture relaxed eligibility requirements in October 2008. At that time - the beginning of federal fiscal year 2009 - the federal agency removed personal assets like real estate and cars from its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility requirements. Essentially, income alone has been used to determine eligibility since then. via One in five now using food stamps - State News - Charleston Daily Mail - West Virginia News and Sports -.
If one in five people in West Virginia are using food stamps, I wonder exactly how many people could qualify to recieve foodstamps but choose not to. There is still a lot of stigma around foodstamps. The government can change the name - SNAP - all they want but it still boils down to foodstamps which a lot of people view as a type of welfare (" a government handout"). In West Virginia, many families don't want to have to rely on the government for anything. It makes it hard to know there are children and families who could qualify for food assitance and they choose not to. The don't want to be beholdin' or feel that the government has some type of control over their lives. Until the stigma around social programs such as foodstamps, CHIPs, etc. can be removed then many hard working families who could use the assistance won't even bother to apply. I don't know what the answer is or how to go about getting rid of the stigma but, we need to try.