Pennsylvania starts asset tests for food stamp recipients

    The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is slated to check the savings and resources of people getting food stamps, starting Tuesday.  

    The so-called asset test is back, since its elimination in 2008. Back then, food stamps could only go to people with less than about $3,200 in the bank. Now, the upper limit is $5,500. For seniors and disabled recipients, it’s $9,000.

    Public Welfare spokeswoman Anne Bale says the agency will begin checking the assets of food stamps recipients as they renew their benefit or apply for the first time.

    “Their checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, savings certificates, and you know kind of looking at whether they have a second vehicle,” said Bale.

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    A second vehicle worth more than about $4,600 would count toward the food stamp recipient’s assets. Bale says the asset test won’t mean more paperwork for everyone who gets food stamps.

    Howver, advocates say for about 450,000 households receiving food stamps, the asset test will be a new burden — both for them and the county offices that have to process their paperwork.

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