About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid — no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay.
The growing number of people receiving SNAP, but living without any cash income exposes a troubling hole in our social safety net. TANF, the primary cash aid welfare program design to aid poor families, has strict asset requirements and is only meant for families with dependent children. The newly poor victims of the recession are people who are too asset rich to receive cash aid welfare, and therefore are subsisting only on food stamps.