HomeEconomic Issues‘Let ‘Em Starve!’ Mother Of Four Sees SNAP Benefit Cut From $500 To $16!

‘Let ‘Em Starve!’ Mother Of Four Sees SNAP Benefit Cut From $500 To $16!

TEApublicans love to talk about the “welfare queen” loading her lobster and crab legs into her Cadillac Escalade and going home to enjoy it in front of her 50 inch plasma TV.  The working poor have it too easy. They’re lazy, living an opulent lifestyle. This scenario is how they have justified the latest round of draconian cuts to the SNAP program, the truth, of course is something far different.

Sara Grier is a single mother of four living in Charlotte, North Carolina.  She works 30 hours a week for $11 an hour at the only job she can find, her yearly income is $17,000, 61.66% of the federal poverty level for a family of five.

She has been receiving $500 per month in SNAP (food stamps) benefits to help feed her children.  She is not an extravagant shopper. She buys meats which are on sale and carefully watches what she buys — stretching her food dollars to the limit.  Ramen noodles are a common lunch, she carefully measures out a half bowl of cereal for each child’s breakfast and counts out an exact number of chicken nuggets when that is the meat for the evening meal or lunch.

She recently received notice that her new SNAP benefit, beginning this month will be reduced — to $16!

While most are looking at a 5% reduction Sara for some incomprehensible reason is looking at a cut of 96.8%!

She says, “I never thought that it would hit my home.”

Nor should it have hit her home, the poverty level as defined by the federal government for a family of five is $27,570 and there are those who would say that is an inaccurate number.  The formula has remain unchanged since it was first devised in the 1960s when the cost of food as a percentage of the cost of living was used to set the level at which a family falls into poverty.

At that time a family spent approximately one third of their monthly budget on food so to determine poverty level the cost of food was multiplied by three setting the level for the poverty line.  Today food accounts for one sixth of the monthly budget meaning that if the original formula was used, rather than simply allowing for inflation which is how we arrive at the current federal poverty level the cost of food should be multiplied by six rather than three, for a family of four the line would be set at $41,000 rather than the $23,500 at which it is now set.

But all of that is meaningless to Sara and her four children, they are wondering how they are going to eat on $16 per month and how it is possible that they were hit so much harder than logic says they should have been.

When the local NBC affiliate learned of Sara’s plight they contacted the state where the official they spoke to expressed shock that this had happened and referred them to the Mecklenburg County DSS which promised to look into the situation.  Lets hope that they are able to resolve this injustice before Sara and her children miss even one of their already meager meals.

h/t: WCNC

More info on Federal Poverty Guidelines: CLICK HERE

About Bob Cull

I'm retired and live in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY. I have strong opinions and my political bent has not changed since I was in high school. Most of my family thinks that I need to find a "real" hobby to fill my time in retirement, but I am content to share my opinions with others and exercise my "right" as a cranky old retired dude to express my views--which are based on many years of real world experience.
  • Pingback: 12 Bible Quotes That CONDEMN Republicans While They Cause Millions to Lose Unemployment Benefits | Americans Against the Tea Party()

  • Windy

    Bob Cull – According to local news agencies it looks like Sara’s cuts were due to an error by the Mecklenburg County and it is being investigated. The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners consists of 6 Democrats and 3 Republicans. You seem to want to assign blame and that is fine but there is no connection between the Tea Party and the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners who are the ones responsible for the error.

  • Lady Mustang

    My father died in 1963 when I was 3 years old. Before Welfare and all these entitlements. My mother got a job to support us. We had very little, but we were raised right and with pride. This country has become so dependent on the government for everything. That’s what they want…..trolls to tow the line. This country was not built on I give all I have to you. If you read “real” American history, this would be easy. This society has no values or morals. Be responsible for yourself. The Tea Party is not out to destroy America. The Tea Party wants to lift you up out of poverty. Remember…Teach a man to fish and he will have the tools, feed him and he will willingly come to the trough. If the Tea Party was in power, taxes and all these regulations which impede jobs would be gone! Wake up people! Look at history up until all these Entitlement programs were installed.

    • Bob Cull

      I do know history, Lady, you on the other hand don’t, you only “know” what you want to be true. For your information there was Public Assistance in 1963, it is not a “new” invention. As for your reverence for the TEA party — dream on.

      Contrary to what you want to believe it is not a philanthropic organization, it is owned in total by the Koch brothers and their robber baron billionaire buddies and not a one of them gives a damn about you other than as a useful fool now and after they accomplish their goal (which they will not the majority are not in their camp) you would be allowed to work 70-80 hours a week for slave wages. That is all you are to them and your ignorance is a boon to them, the educated are not easily controlled, the uneducated are.

    • https://www.facebook.com/thaylin0 Chris Bowen

      So then what is the Tea parties plan to “lift us” out of poverty, it is obviously not to teach us to fish, as they draconian cuts in education shows in states where the the tea party is.. And those things you claim impede jobs dont, it just stops people from abusing people. According to capitalism if there is money to be made there will be a someone filling it as long as there is a profit, any profit. Increasing profits does not increase jobs as we have seen.

  • Lady Mustang

    Where’s the father? Having children is a responsibility. If you cannot afford to have them, don’t.

    • Bob Cull

      If you knew anything other than your own preconceived and inaccurate notions, Lady Mustang, you would not ask such a stupid question. DSS will have tracked down and taken legal action against the father if that is possible. He could be in prison or dead for all you know. No woman gets assistance for her children without the father being tracked down.

      It isn’t even a question of the children, that only makes her situation worse, at her income she would be eligible for SNAP benefits if it were her alone. The ignorance and cold heartedness you display tells me that you are more than likely another one of those hypocrites who will gladly tell the world what a good “Christian” she is — a perfect example of what is wrong with religion.

      • Jill

        You have made my day, Bob Cull. Thank you for your intelligent responses. I just saw a video about a study at Berkeley that showed that people who have a certain amount of wealth display rude and entitled behavior. This actually played out in a study of people not even identified at rich, but given a situation of having the upper hand, they portrayed those unseemly characteristics. I think this really comes out in some of the responses here.

        • Bob Cull

          Thank you, Jill. I’ve seen that study too. In fairness though, while there are a large number of people of means who are like that, it is not all of them. I have known quite a few very wealthy people who are the nicest people you could hope to meet. They are generous and do not feel superior just because they have money. I have also known many who had much less but still felt they were superior to almost everyone.

  • Paula

    Hey Bob, so nice to see a hairy guy with a brain!

    • Bob Cull

      LOL — Thank you, Paula. :D

  • Shannon

    if you cant feed them…don’t breed them.

    • AATTP


    • Bob Cull

      I certainly hope that you remember that attitude, Shannon, when you find your circumstances changed and you can no longer afford to feed your children. People like you should not be allowed to raise so much as a puppy, you have a disgusting attitude. Let me guess — you’re a “born again Christian” — Right? Let me answer that for you and more honestly than you will — Hell no! You don’t have a Christian bone in your body.

    • 2smart2Brepublican

      Shannon; that presupposes that she had children AFTER she had the ability to provide for them. I’ve been unemployed for twenty eight months now, but I still have my car that I paid for while still employed, I have a 46″ plasma TV that was paid for while still employed, and so on, and so on. According to rightwing ideology, I am not “poor,” but let me tell you that my dinner tonight will be a one dollar and seven cent (on sale) Totino’s pizza. BTW, I am not on food stamps, but see that on my horizon if I don’t find work soon. Judge not, lest ye be judged…..or are you simply ABOVE all that, you pious, sanctimonious troll?

      • Rich

        Bob thanks for detailing this story, and also for exposing, and explaining one of the benefits of distributive justice (choosing from behind the veil of ignorance) to someone as selfish, ignorant and hard hearted as Shannon (aka WINGNUT)

  • https://www.facebook.com/karl.rinne.9 Karl Rinne

    I don’t judge and I don’t condemn another human being as I have to look at myself in the mirror. It’s easier to feed the hungry and go on with my day. In all reality, it’s only a few dollars a month that I wouldn’t see anyways as it would be spent elsewhere by the government. I would be a fool to actually think it will end up back in my paycheck.

  • Mah29

    The Snap was increased 2 years ago and had a finite time limit. It was left to expire. Everyone knew the date and let it ride. I hate time limit expansions. Bush tax cuts had a time limit. When the time limit is expired we go back to the original amount. The results are one tax increases or decreases but the original legislated amounts. I hate spin.

    • https://www.facebook.com/thaylin0 Chris Bowen

      So $16 was the limit in this case? I think you are mistaking the issues here. The limit was not raised that much.

  • Windy

    It is the father/fathers of these children who will “let them starve” so track then down and force them to feed their children. I am responsible for MY CHILDREN!!!!!

    • Bob Cull

      There was no information on Sara’s marital status, Windy, for all we or YOU know she could be a widow. Another possibility is that he is in prison, maybe for having beat her and or the kids, it really isn’t any business of the general public or YOU. She is doing the best she can to take care of her own children and you might better devote yourself to atoning for your own transgressions, such as judging others about who you know nothing.

      • Windy

        Bob let me point out that you don’t know any more than I do and yet you chose to use this women’s situation to promote your view and your judgment of others. Before you hand out advice you might want to apply it to yourself first and then maybe I would consider your advice.

        • Bob Cull

          Okay, Windy, yes I could have worded my remarks about her marital status better but I think you knew what I meant, but you had to pick at my less than exact wording. I meant we don’t know how she came to be a single parent.

          As for politicizing, of course I did, we are still coming back from the last recession and very slowly, there are many who still cannot find work and if it weren’t for the TEApublicans in the House, the expansion on SNAP would have been extended as it should have been. It was allowing the expansion to expire prematurely that led to the mistake. There would have been no recalculation yet and therefore there would have been no mistake.

          I also said in the article that the county DSS (not the commissioners, they don’t deal with this sort of thing so your attempt to put it on Democrats goes down in flames) is looking into it.

          Was this your first foray into the world of trolling? It is not my first time having to deal with a troll, I have lots of experience.

          • Windy

            Bob the recession ended in June 2009 according to the nonpartisan CBO and the jobs issue has nothing to do with a 5% reduction in SNAP. They are mutually exclusive issues unless you have nonpartisan evidence that there is a correlation or causal relationship.

            As for the county DSS here is who they report to:

            County DSS Board/Board of Commissioners:
            Pat Cotham, Chair
            Kim M. Ratliff, Vice-Chair At-Large
            Matthew Ridenhour
            Vilma D. Leake
            Dumont Clarke
            George Dunlap
            Bill James
            Trevor Fuller
            Karen Bentley


            These are the very same people ultimately responsible for the DSS as this is the list of agencies that they oversee:

            Board of Elections
            Child Support Enforcement
            Community Support Services
            County Manager’s Office
            Finance – DSS
            Human Resources
            Internal Audit
            Medical Examiner
            Park & Recreation
            Real Estate Services
            Sheriff’s Office
            Tax Collector

            I am correct that those ultimately responsible for Sara’s situation involve a group comprised of 6 Dems and 3 Repubs.

            Please take the time to go to the linked web sites to verify or refute my analysis on facts as that would be a more helpful course of action for your blog rather than name calling which shifts the dynamics of our exchange to an Adult/Child situation (if you’ve every studied sociology) which only diminishes you. I may be wrong but if so I did my best to gather appropriate facts and if you prove me wrong you will earn my respect as you will have taught me something.

          • Bob Cull

            You still have made no valid points, Windy. The person who was responsible for the mistake was the case worker or a clerk and the case worker will be the one who ultimately corrects the mistake.

            As for the recession, it has not ended until the people who lost their jobs have replaced them with comparable jobs and that has not happened. That cut was due to the expiration of the expansion which was put in place because there were so many who were in need and that has not changed.

            I don’t know what the hell you are talking about with your name calling accusation, but then again that is typical of the TEA party mind, I have never had a conversation with one who has not called me names and then told me that it was I and not they who was doing the name calling.

          • https://www.facebook.com/thaylin0 Chris Bowen

            Bob I am going to reply to you and Wendy at the same time since neither of you have a reply button. First Wendy, those are not the people directly responsible for her situation, those are the people who oversea the counties implementation of the social services programs.. If I am a manager and my boss tells me to fire someone I am not directly responsible for their termination, I am just the one who has to carry it out. In this case the Republicans here in Raleigh governing the state are the ones directly responsible through their decisions..

            Bob The recession does not end at arbitrary times such as the one you claim. There are 3 current definitions for when it ends, when the GDP levels out, when it starts climbing or when it reaches the point where it starts its decline, none of those requires that everyone who lost their jobs got back comparable jobs.

            As for the name calling I can only assume it is the TEApublicans comment.

          • Bob Cull

            Actually, Chris, I am not the one who assigned an end date to the recession, that was Windy. What I said was that the recovery was sluggish and that jobs are not there to replace the ones which were lost. That is partly because in an effort to avoid panic politicians and economists labeled it the ‘Great Recession’ when in fact it would have been more accurate to call it the ‘Little Depression’.

            TEApublican is hardly name calling, it is a lot faster and easier than TEA Party Republican — in other words it’s nothing but a contraction.

          • https://www.facebook.com/thaylin0 Chris Bowen

            Bob, now I assume you are just playing word games.. You did not “assign an end date” but you defined when when we can declare the end date, and no it was not what you claimed you said,”As for the recession, it has not ended until the people who lost their jobs have replaced them with comparable jobs and that has not happened. – See more at: http://aattp.org/let-em-starve-mother-four-sees-snap-benefit-cut-500-16/?replytocom=139295#respond“. Also Wendy did not do any assigning, she pointed out that the CBO did the assigning, if you wanna play word games.

            I never said it was a good name calling, it is just the only name I saw. But be clear it is better to just say Tea partier, there are Tea partiers who are not Republicans and there are Republicans who are not Tea partiers.

            I really hate it when republicans and democrats play word games, I generally have to fuss at republicans more, but this is a pretty bad case here.

      • Windy

        Bob – the story did identify Sara’s matital status as a “single mother” so I KNEW she wasn’t presently married. Also if she was a widow that would be how a journalist should have reported her status rather than as a single mother.

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  • lisa

    She’s in NC, where there is no compassion. Just greedy, judgemental people.

    • James

      They are greedy here. I live here but am not from here. I shop in Virginia as it is cheaper to do so than in North Carolina. Everything is more costly here than in South Carolina where I am from and also cheaper in Virginia.

  • mark

    where is Dad?

    • equalist

      Maybe dead, maybe hit the road, maybe in jail. Maybe he pays child support, maybe he doesn’t. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that these children are hungry.

    • http://gravatar.com/patsbard patsbard

      Where “Dad” is has nothing to do with anything. His contribution or lack thereof would have already been taken into account when they calculated her needs.

      • https://www.facebook.com/pat.mockeridge Pat Mockeridge

        Where Dad is has everything to do with this situation. EVERYTHING

        • Bob Cull

          No, Pat, where dad is has nothing to do with this situation, not without a lot more information than is available. Might it have a bearing on the story? Sure, IT MIGHT, but it doesn’t, not unless you know, which we don’t, that he is able to contribute and isn’t. For all you know he may have been killed in Bush’s war of choice in Iraq. Go ahead and jump on me for suggesting that, it has just as much possibility of being true as your assumption that he is a deadbeat or that she is a loose woman. Your judgmental attitude is just as bad as the assumptions you are making. She is your superior in every way.

        • Char

          Pat, where Dad is might have a bearing on the story but not in the way you think.

          If he were in the household, also only able to find part-time work, HE would also qualify for food assistance.

          In decades past, if the father was not working and was living with his children, the mother could not qualify for assistance.

          That included whether he was searching for work, wasn’t qualified for a job in the area, or was not bothering to look for work.

          Same difference.

          It was the reason many fathers were not living with the family.

          Could be the reason some mothers figured out they could do just as well with him gone.

          Your comment about father makes me think of all those people screaming “just close your legs lady”.

          That might work, if you are screaming at women who do not have children, but it sure the heck doesn’t work for those who already have children you don’t want to help.

          EVEN IF both parents refused to work, their children need to eat. If those parents care about their children and don’t have them in an unsafe home, they are far better off then those children who go from a poor home to some of the foster care homes I have read about in the past.

          I am NOT saying all, or most, or even a high percentage of foster homes are bad.

          But, how about we send kids in the bad homes to good foster homes, and keep the ones in a decent home, where they belong?

          With food.


  • Char

    IMHO, this is very confusing and needs further investigation.

    Still, I am always willing to give my initial assessment, pending further.

    The family was receiving $500 a month in food stamps for a family of five.


    Each person was allotted $100 a month in food stamps

    $100 x 12 months = $1200 a year
    $1200 / 365 days = $3.28 a day per person for food each day
    $3.26 / 3 meals per day = $1.08 per person per meal

    It appears to me they lowered each persons allotment by $16 a month

    $100 – 16 = $84 per month per person

    $84 per month x 12 months = $1008 a year
    $1008 a year / 365 days = $2.76 per person for food each day
    $2.76 / 3 meals per day = .92 per person per meal.

    This bad enough.


    • http://gravatar.com/aloanstar aloanstar

      It does not say they were reduced BY $16 a month, but they were reduced TO $16 a month.

      The family was receiving $16 a month in food stamps for a family of five.


      Each person is allotted $3.20 a month in food stamps

      $3.20 X 12 months = $38.40 a year
      $38.40 / 365 days = $00.10 per person for food each day
      $00.10 / 3 meals per day = $00.03 per person per meal.

      That is REALLY bad….no, that is inhumane…..insane.

  • Them

    Me thinks that “me” is confused.

  • Matt Simpson

    Get a job, cross your legs, and quit breeding. Being a freeloader is un-American.

    • https://www.facebook.com/margie.logue.3 Margie Logue

      Matt, Your compassionate solution does absolutely nothing to alleviate the present day problem. Five people to feed on $16/mo. Denying children food to give more tax breaks to the wealthy and their corporations is un-American. The Mom is working. As usual no con comment about the father and his lack of responsibility. Just more of the Republican attacks on women and the poor.

    • https://www.facebook.com/anne.garcia.72 Anne Garcia

      Okay, so you can either provide birth control or food assistance. Which is it, moron?

    • equalist

      Apparently you missed the fact that she already has a job. It just doesn’t pay enough to survive on.

    • https://www.facebook.com/kimberly.douglas.188 Kimberly Douglas

      I didn’t see where the article mentioned why she was a single mother can you point that out? FYI; there is no mention of the father(s) of the children so how about instead of her closing her legs mental midgets like you keep it zipped there Skippy and it won’t matter what position her legs are in. Nice judgement call to bad you lack any facts to back you up. Doesn’t it embarrass you to act like that? Oh ya.. one more thing there butter boy; members of the U.S. Military get SNAP benefits. Are they freeloaders too? Get that egg off your face son you look ridiculous.

    • http://gravatar.com/sheikyerbouti2 sheikyerbouti2

      Now Matt, you really shouldn’t come over to our site and post your RepubliCON tr0// rants. I’m going to refer you to a site that’s populated by other Teabaggers so you can just wallow in it to your hearts content. Here’s the link:


    • https://www.facebook.com/karl.rinne.9 Karl Rinne

      Please forgive Matt. He’s so typical of the modern conservative Christian. The judgmental and contemptuous mannerisms are despicable.

    • Laurie

      Matt – she has a job but apparently you can’t read or you would have seen that. Instead of shaming her, how about shaming the man who isn’t there for his children. The fact is we don’t know the whole story. All we know is her children, who did nothing wrong, will be going to bed hungry in this supposedly great nation.

      You are nothing more than a heartless, judgemental, ass who no doubt considers himself a good christian. I hope you find yourself in her position and starve to death!

  • https://www.facebook.com/paul.t.evans Paul Thomas Evans

    Haven’t you heard? It’s a Crown Victoria, not an Escalade. (The welfare queen did have an Escalade, but she got rid of it once the ashtray was full. BTW, she doesn’t smoke, but the chauffeur did.) ;-)

    • https://www.facebook.com/anne.garcia.72 Anne Garcia

      The “welfare queen” was a product of Reagan’s Alzheimer’s addled-brain. She didn’t exist. You’re welcome.

      • http://gravatar.com/linotypist linotypist

        I’m being sarcastic here! Reagan + Alzheimer’s = karma.

  • Juliet

    The ONLY way I can see that happening is that she was confused with a single woman with the same name (and $16 is not enough for a single person).

    Let’s hope this is some bizarre, rare blunder. If it isn’t…..

    • Bob Cull

      $16 is the minimum amount you can get in SNAP, Juliet. No one with children should ever get the minimum amount that is reserved for singles, usually seniors.

  • Tigerboxers

    This must be an error, most SNAP benefits were reduced by $16 for families and $11 for single people. So instead of $500, she would get $484 a month.

  • http://gravatar.com/ribluebird ribluebird

    I know it is not right, but I hope and pray tea party and others like them burn in HE double tooth picks. Bet they also claim to be Christians.

  • Dorothy Henderson

    Lets face facts nobody no party is intrested in the poor and this snap cut provrs it.

  • Steven Burkhardt

    I too received notice that my SNAP benefits would drop from $200 to $16. I fought back. It took two tries, paperwork to the temp agency I work through, and am finally getting $160 a month. It would have been $200 but thanks to the corrupt House they cut everyone’s benefits. This woman should be able to get most of her benefits reinstated

    • Teacher Kurt

      I received a notice saying benefits would be reduced, but not what they would be reduced too. In Tennesse, benefits get loaded on your card according to the last 2 digits of one’s SSN. Mine load on the 17th, so I won’t find out until 11/17 how much they’ve been reduced. Trying to get your case worker to call you back is more difficult than pulling teeth….

  • Me

    If food accounted for 1/3 of the benefits when the levels were decided and it accounts for 1/6 of expenditures now, that would mean cutting the amount in half, not what is suggested in the article.

    • NancyS

      No, the article says the amount spent on food should be multiplied by 6 to determine the federal poverty level. Food did not account for 1/3 of the “benefits”, food accounted for 1/3 of the family budget. Please reread the article.

    • Rachel

      No, it doesn’t. The article was correct. Food accounts for a lower proportion of a family’s income, but other things take a higher proportion of that family’s income. Necessities like housing, basic utilities, transportation, childcare, and healthcare all take a much higher percentage of a family’s income than they did in 1960. So maybe to help you understand better we could say that the poverty level calculation is no longer accurate because food only accounts for 1/6 of a family’s necessary expenses instead of 1/3 like in the 1960s. Does that make sense to you?

    • Bob Cull

      No, Me, you completely misunderstood the whole thing. The formula was devised, not to calculate SNAP benefits, it was devised to calculate the poverty line. When the formula was created food accounted for one third of the cost of living, so multiplying the cost of food by three gives you the poverty line, not what one should get in food stamps.

      Today food accounts for one sixth so to accurately calculate the poverty line you have to multiply the cost of food by six meaning that the federal poverty level is actually half of what it should be. They have raised the poverty line based solely on inflation which means they have been falling behind the true poverty line for decades.

      Your assumption is dead wrong.

    • Bob Cull

      Here’s a link that may help you understand the error in your thinking, Me. http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/24/opinion/la-oe-schwarz-poverty-line-income-gap-20131024

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