In Florida if you can’t show that you’re working or meet the work requirements some other way, you get penalized and lose your food stamps for the following month. If you fail to meet the requirements again, it’s a three-month sanction and then six months.
Four years ago Chris Timmons, now a columnist and fellow at a Florida think tank, lost his job and needed food stamps. “It did not make me feel like a moocher,” he writes. Yet Florida makes welfare recipients feel just that.
Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, federal officials and House and Senate leaders have waged a public war over health dollars, which President Obama’s administration declared Tuesday are tied to an expansion of Medicaid.
Owing to Scott, Florida is one of only four states that don’t spare a penny either from appropriations or earmarked court fees for legal aid. New York provides $56.8 million. Even in Texas there’s $6.26 for every estimated person in need.
Bottom line: 19.2 percent of adults and 28.4 percent of children are sometimes hungry in Florida, compared to national averages of 16.1 percent for adults and 21.6 percent for children. About 21 percent of Florida children were living below the federal poverty level in 2009.
In the past 3 years, costs related to hunger rose 62 percent in Florida. In 2010, the state’s hunger bill was $11.7 billion, or six times more than the $1.75 billion in budget cuts Gov. Rick Scott proposed for public schools.
Florida’s poverty rate rose to the highest level in 16 years, with 3 million residents—one in six—living under the poverty line in 2010. Nationally, most economic and health insurance indicators are worsening to historic levels.