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New Pa. Food Stamp Policy Takes Effect This Week

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - The Corbett administration's controversial new asset-test policy for food stamp recipients takes effect this week.

Anne Bayle, spokeswoman for the state Department of Welfare, says in order to qualify for food stamps, recipients under the age of 60 will have to have less than $5,500 in certain assets, while the limit is $9,000 for those 60 and over or disabled. She says new recipients will be evaluated when they apply the first time.

Otherwise, "When someone comes in for their benefit renewal process – which is something that's already happening, something that you must do when you receive welfare benefits – that's when we will go over their assets. So, we won't be checking people all at once, right away."

Critics say the asset test will unnecessarily hurt poor people, while the administration says it wants to make sure people turn to their own resources before seeking assistance. The Welfare Department estimates fewer than 1 percent of food stamp recipients will be affected.

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