Clarification wanted on new DPW plan to limit food stamps

    The Pa. Department of Public Welfare says that, starting soon, food stamp applicants with a certain level of assets and savings will not qualify. A reader asked us about the age requirements.

    The Feed cited a Philadelphia Inquirer story on Tuesday about Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare planning to implement an asset test to regulate food stamp use.

    Essentially, anyone under 60 with more than $2,000 in assets, and anyone 60 or older with more than $3,250 in assets, would not qualify for food stamps. This includes automobiles.

    City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a statement today asking DPW to reconsider this plan, calling it “mean-spirited” and saying it could affect as many as 464,000 Philadelphians who currently rely on food stamps.

    Do you agree the plan is “mean-spirited”?Tell us in the comments below.

    NewsWorks reader Pete asked us: “Is that per person or per household? Is there a pro-rated amount per couple? And what about couples who have one person over 60 and one under 60?”

    WHYY’s Tom MacDonald looked into this and said, “For a household, there is only a one-car exemption.” 

    It’s still unclear if the the number changes if there is one person under 60 and one over.

    “The best thing to do is to call DPW at 1-800-692-7462,” said MacDonald, “although they will tell you the plan is not in effect until May first and is still not official.”

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