The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is informing the more than 926,000 SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) recipients in Indiana about important changes that will impact them starting in January.
The changes are the result of Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 530, passed by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year, that will change the dates recipients will receive their monthly benefits beginning with a one-month transition in January 2014.
The amount of recipients’ SNAP benefits is not changing, but the day on which benefits are applied to their Hoosier Works EBT (electronic benefits transfer) cards will change.
Payment dates for SNAP depend on the first letter of the client’s last name, and benefits have previously been made to clients during the first 10 days of each month. SEA 530 dictates that, starting in 2014, SNAP payments will be spread from the fifth through the 23rd of every month, on odd days.
However, to phase in the change, in the month of January 2014 only, SNAP clients will receive half of their benefits on their current date and the other half on their new date.
FSSA has developed a website to explain the date change at www.SNAP.IN.gov. There is also a chart showing clients’ current date and future date, based upon the first letter of their last name. In addition, on the website, clients can gain a clearer picture of exactly how SEA 530 will impact them and their families by typing in their last names to determine their exact payment dates.
Having distribution days spread throughout the month will mean fewer shoppers on any of those days, making shopping easier for SNAP clients and for all food shoppers. Additionally, spreading distribution days will also ease the burden on grocery stores and other food sellers, as well, as those merchants can spread demand throughout the month.
In addition to the website, www.SNAP.IN.gov, FSSA has undertaken several communications to inform SNAP recipients of thechange.
FSSA has assembled — and been sharing information with – a team that includes the Indiana Association of United Ways, Indiana 211, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (a group representing food pantries around the state), the Indiana Retail Council, the Indiana Independent Grocers and Convenience Stores, and various individual retailers.
These organizations and retailers have begun posting and sharing information about the changes in their various locations.
Each SNAP recipient has also received at least two mailings announcing the change.
FSSA has launched a statewide advertising campaign including radio advertising as well as ads on and inside city buses.
FSSA has created two videos to be used as public service announcements and to raise awareness of the change in social media.
SNAP recipients should also have received a voice recording alerting them to the change, via telephone.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food assistance to low and no income people and families living in the United States. It is a federal aid program administered by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), however, distribution of benefits occurs at the state level.
In Indiana, the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is responsible for ensuring federal regulations are initially implemented and consistently applied in each county.
About 926,000 Hoosiers from about 418,000 households across Indiana – or nearly one-sixth of the population of the state – receive SNAP benefits.
For more information about SNAP, visit the website at http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2691.htm.