The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Maryland Budget Cuts Attack Most Vulnerable

Nov 23, 2009

Need food stamps? The law in Maryland says you have to receive your benefits within 30 days of applying. Reality is an entirely different story.

Despite the 30-day rule, “we are seeing about 4,000 to 5,000 applications being delayed each month,” according to a lawyer for the Homeless Persons Representation Project.

In Baltimore County, Maryland, caseworkers in human resource offices used to handle an already-enormous caseload of 400 to 500 cases. Now their caseloads have doubled. Who could possibly help 1,000 individuals or families? How could a case worker even list that many names and details?

More than 150 positions have been cut in Maryland’s Family Investment Administration, while long lines form everywhere. The one division handling food stamps had its budget cut from a miserable $873,463 in 2008 to $827,979 in 2009 at the very time when need for food stamps is soaring.

Here’s how the world’s richest country handles its poorest people.