The Government Has Spent $3 Million To Get More People To Take Free Money

Photo: flickr/mikeschmid

The United states Department of Agriculture has spent the last few months using radio ads to get more Americans to enroll in food stamp programs, according to CNN.So far, they’ve shelled out between $2.5 and $3 million on commercials that have targeted mostly senior citizens and Hispanics. 

“Research has shown that many people — particularly underserved seniors, working poor, and legal immigrants — do not understand the requirements of the program,” Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary, told CNN.

The agency hopes radio ads will do a better job of spelling it out. Much of the stigma surrounding food stamps users has lessened thanks to a debit card-like EBT cards users can swipe without giving themselves away.

Last year, a record 45 million Americans took advantage of the food stamp program (called SNAP) and that number has increased to almost 46.5 million as of March, according to the USDA. But even with the increase, still only a quarter of the eligible Americans participate, according to CNN.

The 75 per cent of eligible consumers that aren’t taking advantage of the program passed up an average benefit of $133.85 a month per person.

Here’s what it takes to qualify for SNAP:

You must have a gross monthly income of less than $1,180 and no more than $2,000 in resources ($3,250 if at least one person in the household is over the age of 60 or disabled). To start the process of applying for the program take the USDA’s pre-screening test.

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