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Fact Check Friday: Food Stamps

President Barack Obama (credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages) and Mitt Romney (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

President Barack Obama (credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages) and Mitt Romney (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It’s Fact Check Friday, when we put the Presidential campaign ads under the scrutiny of factcheck.org, a nonpartisan non-profit part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

This week, our Wayne Cabot spoke with factcheck.org’s Lori Robertson, who has been looking into the issue of food stamps.

LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Wayne Cabot Checks The Facts


Mitt Romney said President Barack Obama caused a doubling of able-bodied people on food stamps by taking work out of the food stamps requirement.

True, false, or something in the middle?

“It’s something in the middle,” said Robertson said.

“We called it an exaggeration. This group of people – able-bodied adults without dependants – did double under Obama from 2008 to 2010 and the stimulus law did indeed kind of issue a blanket waiver for all states. So, the stimulus law waived that,” she told Cabot. “However, we found that all but four states were already receiving these exact same kind of waivers from this work requirement for either all of their residents, or a good portion of them, under the Bush administration.”

In other words, the work requirement was waived by President George W. Bush in all but four states when Obama did the blanket lifting.

“We took issue with two things. We felt that his statement implied that food stamp recipients in general had doubled. They’ve gone up 46 percent under Obama,” Robertson said. “And also he said that there was a study that showed this doubling was because of Obama’s waiving of the work requirement and the study, in fact, that they couldn’t determine how many people would have benefited from this waiver or not.”

What was the work requirement for food stamps?

“For able-bodied adults who do not have children. They could only receive food stamps for three months within a three-year period unless they worked 20 hours a week or participated in some kind of work training program for 20 hours per week,” she said.

So, if you put in your 20 hours, you can have food stamps indefinitely. That was the rule. Now that’s been lifted completely.

“It was lifted by the stimulus law. That waiver has now expired. However, if states are receiving extended unemployment benefits, they also can get a waiver from these rules and the vast majority of states are now getting extended unemployment benefits,” Robertson said. “They’re, in effect, still under this waiver.”

Check back next week when we’ll again dissect what the politicians have to say.