The Weird Stuff That Happens When You Sign Up for Food Stamps

Emily Badger, reporting for the Atlantic Cities:

To understand how CalFresh interacts with users, one Code for America fellow, Rebecca Ackerman, signed up for the benefit (after committing not to actually use any of the money).

“We started seeing what it was like to be a client,” says Jacob Solomon, another fellow on the team. “We started seeing what the nature of the communications was. We started getting these letters.”

Some 20 letters, in fact, came over the next seven months, and Solomon has documented all of them in a maddening interactive timeline here. The letters are oddly hostile in tone.

Appalling, really. I know a lot of it is written with legal concerns in mind, but I don’t think anyone wants to be on food stamps, so why not be a little nicer about it?

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