Contact Information 

Meadville District Office
900-920 Water Street
Downtown Mall
Meadville, PA  16335
Phone (814) 336-1136
Hours 8 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. (M-F)

Fairview Office (Mondays Only)
Fairview Township Building
7471 McCray Rd., Fairview, PA
Hours 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Monday)
1-800-770-2377

Cranesville Office (Thursdays Only)
Cranesville Borough Office
10195 John Williams Ave.
Cranesville, PA 16410
Phone: 1-800-770-2377
Hours 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Thursday)

Capitol Office
Hon. Brad Roae
162B East Wing
Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
Phone: (717) 787-2353
Fax: 717-782-2902

E-mail:
  broae@pahousegop.com

Q & A - Welfare Reductions Are Due to End of Stimulus Funds
11/2/2013
QUESTION: How does the food stamp program work? Is it true that food stamp benefits were cut effective Nov. 1?

ANSWER: The food stamp program has actually been called SNAP for several years. SNAP is an acronym for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Stamps are no longer used. Instead, the funding is placed on the participant’s Access Card, which is used like a debit card issued by banks.

The benefits can only be used on food and beverages. Milk, juice, meat, fruit, vegetables, bread, canned goods, frozen goods and certain other products can be purchased.

Toiletries, cleaning supplies, alcohol and cigarettes cannot be purchased. Restaurant food and hot food cannot be purchased.

Pop, candy, potato chips, expensive cuts of meat and microwaveable dinners are allowed. Federal regulations prohibit states from passing laws that would prohibit the purchase of pop or filet mignon with SNAP benefits.

Funding is provided by federal taxes and the U.S. Department of Agriculture runs the program by giving the states the money to administer it and pay the benefits. Like all federal spending, approximately 33 cents of every dollar is borrowed money funded by government bonds.

Effective on Nov. 1, SNAP benefits were adjusted to the “regular” amount. As part of the federal stimulus program (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), benefits were temporarily increased higher than the normal amount. As of Nov. 1, they are back to the normal amount since the temporary increase under federal law has expired. No state law impacted the change and state regulations have nothing to do with the return to regular benefit levels.

A family of four received a maximum of $668 in October, but starting in November, it changed to $632. The maximum amount worked out to $154 a week, but will now be $146 a week, representing a change of $8. It is approximately 5.4 percent less than what it had been.

Benefits can be maximized by making good decisions. Buying staples such as flour, rice, potatoes and economical cuts of meat, and cooking from scratch is generally cheaper than buying microwaveable ready-to-eat meals. A whole chicken is usually less expensive than microwavable ready-to-eat chicken nuggets. Pancakes made from scratch are much cheaper than pre-made frozen waffles. A 10-pound bag of potatoes costs less than one pound of potato chips. Cutting out pop, chips, and candy can also free up funds to buy more fruits and vegetables.

Rep. Brad Roae
Q & A for 11-2-13
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