A nurse’s aid in Pittsburgh

Marissa, a single mother with one child, can’t seem to make ends meet. Rent and utilities eat up most of her paycheck, so when something unexpected happens, she is often short. Last week, her car broke down but she was already way behind in credit card payments. Yesterday, a collections guy called and said that if she didn’t pay at least $100 right away, she’d be taken to court. When she got off the phone, she started to cry. Her friend Kathy asked her what was wrong. Marissa described to her how bad her financial situation is, and Kathy thought that Marissa might qualify for food stamps. Marissa has a full-time job so she isn’t sure that she’ll qualify, and even if she does, she isn’t sure it will help too much.

1) As a nurse’s aide in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Marissa earns $9 an hour, or $1,560 a month. The minimum wage in the state of Pennsylvania matches the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. It turns out she is eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).

A) How is it possible that someone making almost 25% more than the minimum wage, and working full-time, qualifies for food assistance? Fully explain.

B) What is the minimum wage in your state? (Please include the name of your state in your answer.) If Marissa lived in your state, explain whether or not she would qualify for food stamps and why.

2) Consider that the average SNAP allotment for 2020 is $134 per person per month or about $33 per week for one person.* Marissa asks you to help her create a nutritional diet on only $33 per week.

A) What would you recommend Marissa purchase to keep herself fed for a week, using only $33? Please include the prices of the products you chose and where the prices are from.

B) Please fully explain why your recommended diet is nutritional. If you could not create a nutritional diet with only $33, please explain what difficulties you encountered.

https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/a-quick-guide-to-snap-eligibility-and-benefits
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