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SNAP benefit dates to change in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS – Almost a million Hoosiers receiving food stamps will see the date they receive benefits shift in January under a new law.

The amount of the benefits will not change. The monthly average for a household of two is about $291.

But the date they get the money will move.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is waging a campaign to alert the 926,000 recipients of SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – of the change to ease any possible burdens.

Lawmakers changed the law earlier this year partially at the urging of grocers and other retailers wanting to spread out the traffic and make inventory stocking easier.

Right now the money is loaded onto an electronic benefits card in the first 10 days of the month, depending on the first letter of the person’s last name.

Under the new system, the benefits will be loaded between the 5th and the 23rd depending on the last name.

January will serve as a transition month to eliminate any delay of benefits.

For instance if your last name is Smith and you usually receive benefits on the 8th – in January you will receive half of the amount on the 8th and the other half on your new date, the 19th.

Then in February and in the future, your full amount will be received on the 19th.

The corresponding date changes are this: A or B goes from the 1st to the 5th; C or D goes from the 2nd to the 7th; E, F or G goes from the 3rd to the 9th; H or I goes from the 4th to the 11th; J, K or L goes from the 5th to the 13th; M or N goes from the 6th to the 15th; O, P, Q or R goes from the 7th to the 17th; S goes from the 8th to the 19th; T, U or V goes from the 9th to the 21st; and W, X, Y or Z goes from the 10th to the 23rd.

FSSA Spokeswoman Marni Lemons said the agency wants to save Hoosiers any possible embarrassment if they stock a full shopping cart on the usual January date they receive food stamps and then realize they have only half the money.

She noted recipients can call for a balance on their electronic benefits transfer card.

Two letters have already been sent to all clients about the change at a cost of about $300,000. And each recipient will receive a voice recording alerting them to the change between Dec. 14 and Dec. 16.

Bus and radio ads, as well as an online video, cost an additional $95,000.

The money is coming from the SNAP administrative budget, which is funded half by the federal government and half from the state.

For more information, you can go to www.SNAP.IN.gov.

nkelly@jg.net

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