In this Houston Chronicle op-ed, Baker Institute Rice scholar Rachel Kimbro assesses the adequacy of social services for the very poor in the United States. 

Kimbro, a sociologist, takes issue with GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's assertion that a "very ample safety net" exists for the very poor. She notes that most food stamp recipients are children and the elderly, and that, in Texas, welfare benefits usually amount to a maximum of $250 monthly for a family of one adult and two children. 

She writes:

"America's poverty policies do assist the destitute -- if they can navigate a complex bureaucratic system of rules, requirements, sanctions and time limits. But the implication that we do not need to worry about the very poor in this country because of the 'ample social safety net' is not only misguided, it's misleading."