Food stamps: The most efficient stimulus?


The last time I applied for food stamps was 2004. I'd just been laid off and found I was pregnant with my second child, the same week (the pregnancy was planned, the layoff, a total surprise). My husband, ever the patriot and would-be-provider, signed up for the Army Reserves. His pay in basic training was pitiful; but with my $1,000 a month freelance income, too much for our family of three to qualify for public assistance. Shortly thereafter, I got a "real" job, and our income quickly vaulted out of range.

Here in 2009, I was once again back to freelancing, this time making quite a bit more -- more than double my monthly income in 2004. I could pay the mortgage, and the power bill, but with my husband under-employed the groceries were straining us. And now we had three little ones. I was wowed to discover that we qualified for food stamps, augmented (surprisingly) by the economic stimulus package. The average family of four gets $80 extra, so I assume our total was boosted by about $100 over what it would have been in March.