Butkovitz criticizes plan for food stamp asset test

    The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has found a foe in Alan Butkovitz.

    The Philadelphia City Controll wants the DPW to rescind its plan to administer an asset test to food stamp recipients. As reported yesterday by WHYY/NewsWorks’ Tom MacDonald, the test would examine recipients’ assets to determine if they have enough financial need to receive food stamps.

    “This decision is not only ‘mean-spirited’ but counter-productive in helping those on the lower economic rungs gain eventual long-term financial self-sufficiency,” Butkovitz wrote in a letter to DPW Secretary Gary Alexander and Gov. Tom Corbett.

    “In fact, your actions can lead to continued impoverishment for many of these individuals and families.”

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    He argues the assets test will impact the local recipients enrolled in the controller’s Bank on Philadelphia program that helps “unbanked” Philadelphia set up checking and savings accounts.

    Philabundance is also speaking out against the test, encouraging people to “Protect SNAP” by emailing Corbett in opposition.

    “Punishing families for saving money will force them to drain their savings before they are eligible for benefits and penalizing people for saving is counterproductive to moving off of government food assistance,” the organization’s statement reads. “Asset tests will result in more people turning to food pantries and food banks and the charitable food bank system is already under tremendous strain with declining food donations and record levels of need.”

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