When President Barack Obama increased unemployment benefits as part of his economic stimulus, he also made some Americans ineligible for hundreds of dollars a month in food stamps.
Under the economic recovery plan, laid-off workers have seen a $25 weekly bump in their unemployment checks as part of a broad expansion of benefits for the poor. But the law did not raise the income cap for food stamp eligibility, so the extra money has pushed some people over the limit.
Laid-off workers and state officials are only now realizing the quirk, a consequence of pushing a $787 billion, 400-page bill through Congress and into law in three weeks.
And for people hurt by the change, there’s no way around it.
“Everybody tells you, ‘Yeah, I can understand why you’re frustrated. It doesn’t sound right.’ But nobody knows where to go,” said Mark Milota, 47, of Marietta, Ga., who was laid off in November from his job at a medical billing company.
The Georgia Department of Human Resources explained in a letter to him last month that, because of the stimulus, he was ineligible for food stamps. He now makes $1,538 a month — $21 too much for a family of two to qualify.
Something to think about while everyone is screaming for health care reform RIGHT NOW. I’d rather they take their time and get it right than rush it to just get something done. Obviously the stimulus package was a unique situation, but it is still worth keeping in mind the unintended consequences of everything the government does.