US students battle hunger because of food stamps backlog

Monday, April 14, 2014
By Paul Martin
14 April 2014

Although a “food insecurity” problem – a lack of nutritional food – is not typically associated with US students, it has already become an alarming signal for college administrators who see more and more hungry students, especially those from low-income families. An unreasonable amount of time needed to receive food stamps is seen as one of the reasons for the problem.

“Almost as bad as the hunger itself is the stress that you’re going to be hungry,” said Vaughn, 22, a fifth-year student at GMU, cited by the Washington Post. “I spend more time thinking ‘How am I going to make some money so I can go eat?’ and I focus on that when I should be doing homework or studying for a test.”
Last year, after applying for the food stamp program, students would get notice of their status in either a month or two, but now there is no common wait-time period. Furthermore, it has become much longer than usual.

The recent change in the system used to apply for food stamps is seen as one of the reasons for the lag time. The food stamps request has transitioned from being an independent procedure to being combined with Medicaid, according to Sarah Wright, a member of the advisory board for Feed the Pack.

“We had several students that were not approved in a timely manner from when their application was submitted,” she said. “Obviously, that was a tough time for those students to manage, but what was nice is that they were back-paid from the time that their applications should have been approved.”

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