INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana residents receiving food stamps
will begin getting their monthly benefits on new dates under a state law
approved earlier this year as part of an effort to improve what is available at
area grocery stores, officials with the Family and Social Services
More than 900,000 residents receive their monthly benefits
between the first and the tenth of each month, but grocery store owners in
low-income areas had complained they would often run out of goods at the start
of each month.
Lawmakers approved a measure earlier this year stretching
out when benefits are delivered, and the FSSA set a new calendar that
distributes benefits every other day from the fifth of the month through the
Grocery stores and convenience stores always had felt a
crush of recipients buying up key items at the start of each month, but it
gotten worse as the number of food stamp recipients grew in the wake of the
recession, said Joe Lackey, president of the Indiana Grocery and Convenience
Store Association, which lobbies for grocery stores.
“They can’t keep up with the stock, they can’t keep up with
the employees and it’s not the best experience for recipients,” he said.
Lackey praised FSSA’s work and said the changes should make
it easier for those stores to keep pace with demand.
The average food stamp recipient — typically one parent with
one child — gets about $274 a month, FSSA said. That amount will be split into
two checks next month, before the new calendar takes effect in February 2014 and
recipients return to getting one payment each month.
The change in schedule will not mean a change in benefits,
but does follow a few months after food stamp benefits included in the federal
stimulus bill were cut.
FSSA officials said they have been trying to let as many
recipients know about the change as possible, through direct communication and a
coordinated advertising campaign.
“The key message here is plan ahead,” said Marni Lemons, an
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