A Minnesota man applied for and then received government food stamps for well over a year, even though he is a millionaire, in an effort to prove his belief that the eligibility requirements for the benefits in his state were too loose.
Rob Undersander’s story will be told in a Thursday House agriculture subcommittee meeting. The meeting will examine broad-based categorical eligibility requirements (BBCEs), which the Minnesota engineer exploited, for the nation’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)—commonly referred to as food stamps.
Undersander and his wife retired a few years ago and mainly lived off his wife’s early social security benefits, but they had also developed a nest egg that put their net worth somewhere just north of $1 million. About the same time, as a volunteer with the Central Minnesota Council on Aging helping seniors navigate enrollment and other issues with various government programs, he became something of an expert on government benefits and how to apply for them.
“I’m sitting in the [training] class, I’ll never forget this,” Undersander told the Washington Free Beacon by phone. “We’re going through pages and pages of all these programs for low-income seniors that have ascending income [qualification] levels and ascending asset levels. But when you get to SNAP, it’s only income.”
The SNAP program is mainly funded by federal dollars, but states create their own rules and distribution mechanisms for the money. The conservative-leaning think tank Foundation for Government Accountability estimates that 33 other states are like Minnesota, meaning they do not take net worth into account when determining eligibility, only income.