Evaluating Eligibility Rules

Evaluating Eligibility Rules
Lisa Swearingen
Axia College of University of Phoenix
HHS 245 Public Policy Development in Health and Human Services
Courtney Hunt

Evaluating Eligibility Rules
Almost any type of health or human service agency or program has some kind of eligibility rules, whether they are a government program or faith-based. Without these rules, the potential for abuse and chaos is very high. Some programs have more rules than others, hoping to make it more difficult for people who do not really need help to obtain benefits from a program. When anyone receives benefits when they do not really need them, it takes those benefits away from someone who truly does need those benefits. Angel Food Ministries has a very relaxed approach to eligibility rules. While this may increase chances of program abuse, it does enable those individuals or families who fall through the cracks of other programs to get the help they need and deserve.
Angel Food Ministries has no real eligibility rules to speak of. There are no applications and no qualifications to be able to participate in the program. There is no means test where income and assets are counted, no source of entitlement from professional or administrative discretion, and no private contracts (Chambers & Wedel, 2005). People only have to pay a small fee ($30) for a box of food when they place their order. Angel Food Ministries keeps track of names, addresses, and phone numbers, and if they notice someone continuously coming back, they will try to counsel the individual or family, to see if there is any additional help available. However, these people are not turned away, they are still allowed to participate as long as they pay for the food they receive.
Having actually been a participant in the Angel Food program, I have never noticed any stigmatization, and have thought (having also participated in the food stamp program), what a contrast the Angel Food program is to the food stamp program. The...